Sunday, August 31, 2014

Book Bingo: A Room with a View

A Room with a View by E.M. Forster is about an English girl, Lucy, in the upper-middle-class in the first decade of the 20th-century. She takes a trip to Italy with her mother's cousin, Charlotte, as her chaperone. But as Lucy discovers love, passion, and beauty on her trip, she finds herself torn between this intense, new-found world and her safe and comfortable social conventions. I've grown up watching the 1985 version of A Room with a View, which I love, but for some reason I never picked up the book and read it. Until now!

(picture taken from Goodreads)

First Impression: I'm captivated by the beauty of Forster's language. Maybe some of it is because I've been having classic literature withdrawal lately, but his prose feels like poetry. It's funny, too, how Forster's version of Italy appears so captivating even when the characters are bored or something gruesome is happening. I find it interesting that no one really likes the other characters in the first half of the book. I can definitely see more evidence of it here than in the movie. One person who appears to advantage in the book is Cecil, if only because the reader can see that he tries to phrase his opinions in a less offensive way and to see other points-of-view. He's making an effort. He is the same snooty character, however, that one can never really like. George is as wonderful as ever, and the main difference in him is that he communicates a little more with Lucy. He also seems to be depressed rather than just thoughtful, which changes his character somewhat for me. Freddy's "bone hobby" is actually studies in anatomy. Who knew? I'm enjoying the extra character information in my reading. My favorite parts so far have been the author's descriptions of music and of Lucy when she plays the piano. She comes alive! I wonder if Forster was a big fan of music or if he just found this to be a perfect way to convey Lucy's full character?

(picture taken from Goodreads)

This is my favorite version of the cover that I've seen so far. It's artistic, beautiful, and it displays a few significant themes from the novel. The cover pictured at the beginning of this post is from the copy that I read.

Conclusion: As you know, the beauty of Forster's writing grabbed me from the beginning of this book, and it held throughout! The passion conveyed in the words of the author and the actions of the characters was amazingly profound. It makes the reader want to live, and to do so with extreme depth and clarity. I found the characters very fascinating and unique. Lucy was not perfect. She was the protagonist, but she was very conflicted and somewhat selfish throughout the book. George was my favorite, of course. He lived freely and threw himself into everything he did in such a compelling way--even the characters who didn't like him were fascinated by him. Mr. Beebe was the most confusing character to me, I guess. It's hard to even explain why, but you'll see if you read it. He was a bit of a riddle. The ending was perfect for every character, but it was not exactly what I expected, because it varied from the movie slightly. This made things interesting! And it proved to some extent that authors usually know what's best for their characters. And why not? They've spent so much more time together than we have!

Recommendation: This book is fantastic for those who like classics that challenge social ideals. If you are a fan of John Galsworthy or Elizabeth Gaskell, you will like this novel by E.M. Forster.

A Room with a View is one of my "TBR Pile" choices for the 2014 Book Bingo Challenge! It also would have worked in the "Classic" box, but I'm saving that for a book I'm currently reading! I loved this book, and I hope you enjoyed the review! Please subscribe to the blog or keep checking back for more reviews and maybe some other fun things!


  1. I LOVE this book. Saw the 1985 movie once in college and liked it okay. Read this book last year on someone's recommendation I think, and was blown away. It leaped onto my top ten list. Just an amazing book. I reread it a couple of months later and loved it even more.

    1. Right? It blew me away, even when I expected it to be fantastic. I'm glad to hear you love it, too! I will say I can't help but love the movie as well. It's the Emersons! They picked the perfect actors for George and his father. But no movie can compare to this beautiful, lyrical book.

    2. I want to see both the 1985 again and the newer version now that I love the book. Especially since Rupert Graves is in the 1985 :-)

    3. I didn't know there was a newer version! Thanks! Now I have to find it.