Vanity Fair Readalong: The second half.

Remember, as this is part of a readalong, BEWARE THE SPOILERS! I’ll be posting a spoiler-free review of Vanity Fair sometime next week.

vanity fair readalong

Hooray, thanks to this readalong I can now say that I’ve read Vanity Fair! Thanks again to Trish & Melissa for hosting :-)

I think the second half dragged a little bit more than the first, don’t you? There were several chapters that seemed to go on forever with very little action, like when Lord Steyne was introduced or whenever they talked about old Mr. Osborne. Thackeray himself seemed to be getting bored with the story, as there was less witty/funny/snarky narrating.

Well, let’s move right on to the bullet points, shall we?

  • Amelia is just the worst. Wah wah wah, I’m so poor and can’t give my kid diamond shoes and a pony. I was rooting for her to slap her mom for being such a jerk, but instead she just handed over any money she ever had. And when she finds out that her father screwed them over and that’s why they’re so broke? She instantly forgives him, and then tells herself she’s being wicked whenever she gets sick of taking care of him. She’s such a martyr, and I hate that. Grow a spine!
  • Becky… did not turn out as awesome as I was hoping. The Rawdon Crawleys get along pretty well for a long time, living on nothing and screwing everybody over. She’s amassing quite a little stash for herself with all the flirting (and more… I mean come on, probably more) with Lord Steyne and any other man that comes along. Even Pitt! For shame. Once Rawdon threw her out, I thought maybe she’d go off to another country and attempt to marry a rich foreigner, but nope – she turns into a drunken gambler instead. Tsk tsk. Although it seems in the end she kind of got back on her feet by possibly murdering Jos and getting his money. I think that the reason I like Becky so much is because she’s not exactly a victim – she was poor and hated it, so she’s made it her mission to try to secure some wealth and position for herself, even if it means trampling all over people. I MUCH prefer that to Amelia’s whimpering martyrdom.
  • I also kind of liked how much she just ignored her kid… obviously it was weird and horrible how she tried to use him, but it was also nice to see a mother figure who wasn’t fawning all over her son constantly coughAmeliacough…
  • Also, whenever I think of Becky and Amelia I hear the song “Ladykiller” by Maroon 5 play in my head.
  • DOBBIN! He IS the hero of this book! He’s definitely one of my favorite classic heroes ever. I do NOT understand his love for Amelia, but he’s devoted, generous, adoring, honorable and basically an awesome person. And I CHEERED when he told Amelia off and said he deserved better than her, because she was basically taking him for granted and treating him like a lapdog. He does deserve better, but I’m glad he finally got the girl in the end.
  • “But the fact is that every day and always, this love-smitten and middle-aged gentleman was thinking about Mrs. Osborne, and his whole heart was bent upon doing her good.” ALL THE SWEETNESS.
  • Rawdon wasn’t so bad himself. A bit weak-willed and lazy, but he clearly loved Becky and Lil’ Rawdon a lot. And good for him for refusing to see Becky ever again. I’m all for refusing to forgive a cheater.
  • Overall, it seems like everyone got what they deserved in the end – with the exception of Amelia, who I think deserved to end up alone.
  • It bums me out a little bit that when you type “Vanity Fair” into Google, that magazine pops up. Although how appropriate, considering what a horrible and greedy place it was.
  • Overall I like that this is a big satirical book about how shallow and vapid society can be… if anything, it may be even more appropriate in today’s world.

In total, I think this was a good read! Lively and interesting for most of the book, and fun to to discuss. I’m interested in watching the 2004 movie adaptation soon 🙂

I’m hoping my thoughts will be a little more coherent when I write my spoiler-free review… it’s early and I’m tired!

Thanks one more time to Trish & Melissa for hosting this readalong! It was a lot of fun and definitely gave me the push I needed 🙂

~Sarah

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10 comments

  1. Ugh, I am so with you on Amelia! Stop idolizing your stupid dead husband! And ditto on Becky, yes she was kinda a horrible person, but at least she didn’t sit back and just take whatever life gave her in silence. I was surprised by how much I liked Rawdon as well. He didn’t have the strongest character, but he truly loved and trusted Becky and was heartbroken by her selfishness. I’m so glad you joined in the readalong. I definitely needed the push to read it too!

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    1. Yesss! I can’t believe how much she built George up in her head even after he died. He was such a jerk! Ugh.

      But overall I think this was a really fun classic to read & think about. The readalong was a great idea!

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  2. My main beef with Becky was her behaviour to her offspring. Come on, woman, he came from your womb! Surely it’s not that difficult to tuck him in in the evening. Or something!

    Also I got the idea that Becky and Amelia as parents were like polar opposites, both very bad. One wasn’t doing enough, and the other one was way overdoing it. Amelia more annoying, of course (I personally can’t stand parents who chicken their children like that).

    And I too thought that the message is very much suitable for today’s world. It’s all just a big meat market… and yadda yadda. It was a good book.

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    1. She was really indifferent towards her kid… but I kind of saw that coming. I’m surprised she let herself get pregnant at all (I’m assuming she knew how to prevent it, seeing has how she didn’t have any more kids after that). I agree that Amelia was more annoying – Lil Rawdon got affection from other people and was okay, but Lil George was just spoiled rotten and babied by everybody. Yuck.

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  3. I think Amelia’s just dessert was finally realizing how she had wasted her life pining over a complete douche and understanding how terribly she had treated Dobbin all those years. Dobbin should have grown a pair much earlier in life, but other than that he was a doll. Enjoyed this readalong so very much and probably would never have made it through without these great conversations!

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    1. Dobbin just putting up with how Amelia treated him was really frustrating, and I think that if he hadn’t finally been all “Whatever, I’m too good for you.” at all, I would have ended the book liking him a lot less. I was hoping for something like that to happen the whole time, so I was soooo happy when it did!

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  4. This turned out to be much more entertaining than I’d expected! Amelia drove me crazy, but I really disliked Becky, too. I grew to like Rawdon and, although I found Dobbin really frustrating overall, I applauded when he told off Amelia.

    I totally agree with Brooke – “I think Amelia’s just dessert was finally realizing how she had wasted her life pining over a complete douche and understanding how terribly she had treated Dobbin all those years.” Hehe!

    In the end, I think the narrator was my favorite “character” of all. The support of the read-along was key, too!

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    1. I was surprisingly entertained too. It helped that all of the main characters were so different and their personalities so obvious, because it was easy to cheer or boo at them along the way.

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  5. Ok, let me get this straight. You didn’t like Amelia? 😛 Totally agree and I felt very vindicated when Becky told her off at the end of the book. I just finished telling Melissa that it’s too bad it didn’t come much earlier in the story!

    I can totally see this being adapted on the screen for today’s audience (like the classic remakes of about 10 years ago). Sadly I think there are a lot of Beckys in the world…and some Amelias as well. Thanks for joining the readalong!!

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