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Friday, November 22, 2013

Anna Karenina

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy is one hell of a Russian soap opera that goes on, and on, and on...

So there's this chick, Anna, who is married to a pretty powerful guy in Russia like, forever ago. She is, however, unsatisfied with having married rich (and frankly, how is). She needs love. So it's no surprise when one day she catches the eye of the ultra handsome and debonair Vronsky. He's everything she's looking for--virile, young, and sexy. So she has an affair with him. And no, this won't end well. In the meantime there is a ton of stuff. Like, characters coming out the wazoo.

I will be upfront and say Anna is one of my least favorite characters in all of literature. Never have I come across such a whiny, weak, and annoying woman--everything that I hate in characters. She cheats on her husband, which is completely forgivable because he sounds like a total numb nut, but then she proceeds to go all crazy-girlfriend on Vronsky. She accuses him of loving others, of not loving her, and she generally alienates him until she can't take it and throws herself in front of a train for no good reason other than that she has thrown herself into a tizzy. Ok, ok, sure--she was probably depressed and who wouldn't go crazy having nothing to do but worry over your super hot lover all day. (Because it's not like she has a new baby for whom she needs to be caring and loving.) Lesson learned--cheating begets jealousy. I mean, if he cheated with you, he will most likely cheat on you.

I get why this book is so convoluted; back in the day you had to keep the masses entertained when there was no television. (Don't you think the late nineteenth century Russian intelligentsia would just die over Scandal???) After a while though, it was all like, I get it, Leo. Look, I realize that many out there love this book, and I have mad respect for you over this. I wish I could say I will revisit this classic over and over again, but the truth is I won't. I had no sympathy for Anna as she walked toward the station to give herself over to the grief that she created for herself in her head. I wanted to care, and I wanted to be waiting with baited breath. But I didn't, and I wasn't. Look honey, I get it--I have been cheated on and cheated with. (That's another story for another blog.) But you have to stand up, dust yourself off, and live with your choices. Sometimes life is rough.

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