on 7 December 2014
Perhaps James's most successful novel: for once, the elegant prose is largely free of constipation and self-regard. Not an easy read, however, and the best way to enjoy the novel is the superb unabridged audiobook read by Maureen O'Brien (Cover-to-Cover).
3 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 29 September 2013
I will be completely, 100% honest and admit one of the reasons I read What Maisie Knew was because I saw that it has recently been made into a movie, and I love one of the stars, so I decided to read the book first before watching the movie, which is something I always do when it comes to movies based on books.
Well, before coming to that decision, maybe I should have looked up the book a little more. I had no idea just how long ago this book had been written, and in fact when I received my copy from Penguin, the new `movie version' cover, and the blurb on the back of the book, still didn't give away the fact that What Maisie Knew was originally written in 1897. This is where my problems began!
What first made me want to read What Maisie Knew was thinking this was going to be a rather interesting story of a child in a broken home, from the child's point of view. While the story does focus on a problem that still occurs nowadays in broken homes, where a child us used as a pawn between two parents in awful ways, the story was not what I thought it was going to be at all.
I found this really difficult to read due to the old fashioned language, and would read whole paragraphs, if not pages, without understanding any of what I had read. I also found the whole story really complicated, Maisie's awful parents aside, chucking in the step parents arguing over her as well as governesses and so on, it was really hard to keep track of.
There were parts of the book that when I understood what was going on, they were quite enjoyable to read, and as previously said it shows that problems occurring from divorce are not a new thing and in fact were happening many years ago, too.
I do consider myself to be a fairly well read person, but maybe old classics are not my forte and I need to stick to more modern styles of books!