Friday, February 18, 2011
Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly
BROOKLYN: Andi Alpers is on the edge. She’s angry at her father for leaving, angry at her mother for not being able to cope, and heartbroken by the loss of her younger brother, Truman. Rage and grief are destroying her. And she’s about to be expelled from Brooklyn Heights’ most prestigious private school when her father intervenes. Now Andi must accompany him to Paris for winter break.
PARIS: Alexandrine Paradis lived over two centuries ago. She dreamed of making her mark on the Paris stage, but a fateful encounter with a doomed prince of France cast her in a tragic role she didn’t want—and couldn’t escape.
Two girls, two centuries apart. One never knowing the other. But when Andi finds Alexandrine’s diary, she recognizes something in her words and is moved to the point of obsession. There’s comfort and distraction for Andi in the journal’s antique pages—until, on a midnight journey through the catacombs of Paris, Alexandrine’s words transcend paper and time, and the past becomes suddenly, terrifyingly present.
-- Summary from Goodreads
Unfortunately, I didn't get around to reading this entire book. (More like, skimmed the last half.) I wish it would have been otherwise.
I intensely love the French Revolution. I know that sounds strange, since it was so bloody and gory and kinda pointless, but I love it. It fascinates me - the reasons why each side did what they did, what happened to those who did not exactly "side" with either group (aristocratic or third estate), what became of the government afterwards, and so on.
That's the reason I picked up this book. I'm pretty hungry all the time for more fiction and nonfiction about the French Revolution.
This book delivered in some ways. The writing was excellent, and the characters were well developed. Jennifer Donnelly does a good job and making the reader feel something for the characters - I personally was taken with Virgil. He was smart, witty, kind, doting - and apparently he had a butt so cute that it made Andi mess up the song she was playing when she noticed. (That made me laugh histerically!)
But then, at the same time...it didn't deliver. While I did sympathise with Andi, I didn't really sympathise with Alex. Her story, despite being set during the French Revolution, wasn't that amazing to me and got a little boring - so I began skimming. I'd stop and read most of Andi's perspective, but that was it. Then the twist in the end - that little midnight journey through the catacombs that the synopsis mentions - was just strange. I didn't appreciate it or understand it. It was really...just strange. That's when I started skimming Andi's perspective and read the last few short chapters.
Oh well. I wish it would have turned out better for me - but at least I have about five more books about the French Revolution that I love and will read over and over again! :)
For parents - there is some brief strong language and shorter, less offensive cuss words scattered throughout the book. There are a few references to sex but they are inexplicit. This book is so much more clean than it could have been, and from what I thought it would be like from the beginning. Her relationship with Virgil is sweet and nothing happens between them.