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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A Long, Fatal Love Chase by Louisa May Alcott

Waste. Of. Time.

There's a reason why this book wasn't published back in Alcott's day. As my mom suggested to me, Love Chase's themes were definitely too racy for the time period and anyone reading that before Little Women would certainly not allowed their daughters to go about reading Alcott's other, more family friendly, reads. I think they would have been fatally scarred by the encounter. I think I am.

A Long, Fatal Love Chase reads like one of Jo's desperate home plays from Little Women. The heroine of this particular tale is even named Rosamond (Rose for short). It's goofy and melodramatic. It is what it says it is....long and fatal, desperate and pathetic. It might have been best had it never ever been published. Or, for that matter, written. It's the sort of writing Professor Bhear most certainly would have discouraged as being too sensational and dishonest.

It's a bunch of blah, blah, blah, get-on-with-it nonsense which, if you couldn't guess, I really didn't like. It falls into the "tragic romance" category which I really don't get into. Of course, you really can't get into it with characters named Tempest and Rosamond. I just envision Jo hopping about madly with a fake mustache on, performing for her mother and sisters, much to their amusement.

If you really like Alcott and feel like you have to read everything she ever wrote, then at the very least I'd say see if your library has a copy. There's certainly no need to buy and own it.

I give this one two thumbs down (and more if I had them).

9 comments:

Queen of Carrots said...

It seems like it would be amusing to see the original source material for the stuff she was always mocking in her other books, but I don't think I'm quite interested enough to read it.

Sue said...

You summed up my feelings on the text.

Rivers Daughter said...

My sister got ahold of a copy a few years back and we screamed ourselves sick reading bits out loud. I didn't actually make it through the whole book just the first part and the last but you don't really need to know what happens in between. The best part it when Rose dies, sigh, brought a tear to my eye....not. Thanks for your review it made me laugh..once again.

Carrie said...

RD -- Now THAT would be a situation I would enjoy reading it in! Melodramatic read-alouds! This book is the perfect choice! ;D

Thanks for the comment.

Rivers Daughter said...

Your Welcome! Thanks for your blog. I have been a lurker for the past year or so...and have enjoyed it. Your reviews make me laugh or interest me in books each time I come on here. Keep up the good work.

kara a. said...

I found your review on Semicolon...

This is a book I've had on my shelf for quite a while...I suppose I'll read it eventually, but I like her other works so much, I don't want to be disappointed! Your review helped me to know what I'll be in for when I do pick up the Fatal volume. ;)Thanks.

Framed said...

I will definitely skip this one. I enjoy Alcott's writing when she is dealing with younger people, not romance so much. And this sounds awful.

John Mutford said...

Hi Carrie,
Though I was warned about this one, I went ahead and read it anyway. Your thoughts were very similar to mind. I hope you don't mind that I linked to your review over at my blog.

Jennifer said...

Poor Louisa, not a one of you will champion her cause. A long fatal love chase is a fantastic (and yes sensationalized) version of Goethe's Faust. This was Louisa's nod to the tragic romance genre that has always been popular. You say you can't get into it, but are you familiar with Romeo and Juliet, Tristan and Iseult, even Gretchen's story from Faust itself. Yes, I too can imagine Jo romping around the attic with a mustache as Phillip Tempest, but who do you think Jo is modeled after. (Hint: initials L.M.A.). Little women is a heartwarming, classic story, but so are most of the rest of her books. This novel, while maybe not high brow literature, shows the diversity of Louisa's writing ability. In other words, she could write much more than sappy family-friendly novels. You are welcome to your opinion, but I encourage all of you to give another chance to the novel.

P.S. Alcott wrote many more of these sensational and thrilling dramas; proof that this genre may not have been publishing well, but was a source of creative enjoyment.

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