March 9, 2012

The Flight of Gemma Hardy by Margot Livesey

Let me start off by saying I'm an English major, but I can't stand reading the classics. There's just something about the slow and articulate literature that puts me to sleep. And for that reason I haven't picked up a classic to read in probably five years.

Why am I telling you this? Because The Flight of Gemma Hardy reads like a classic. It is well-written, full of character development, and hits all of the right elements, but I found it to be very slow and too easy for me to put down. It is a great modern retelling of Jane Eyre, which just adds evidence to my personal opinion because I've tried to read Jane Eyre three or four times and never been able to get through it. And after reading The Flight of Gemma Hardy, I'm not sure I ever will.

So ignoring the fact that I personally don't love the classics, this book is set in the mid 1900s, about orphan Gemma Hardy's journey to find her family and a place she belongs. Since I've never been able to get through Jane Eyre, I had to rely on Wikipedia to confirm that Gemma Hardy's journey is very similar to Jane Eyre's, just 100 years later. As a stand alone book (not compared to Jane Eyre), I liked the book but was annoyed with Gemma's insistence on running from each "home" she created to try and find one she didn't even know if it existed. Her character seemed to be looking for sympathy and pity for her tough life but she was never happy with the blessings she was given, especially in the latter half of the book.

The Flight of Gemma Hardy is divided into five sections - five sections that mirror Jane Eyre's life just in a more modern setting. Replace horses with cars, governesses with au pairs, and India with Iceland. Overall for those of you who enjoyed Jane Eyre and like classic literature, this is one you'd probably enjoy. For me personally, I could have done without. 3 stars.
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  1. Sorry this one wasn't for you. Thank you for being on the tour!

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