Tuesday, October 7, 2008
The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende
This is one of those adult books that has become a classic that teens read in high school, although I never read it. Until now, that is.
I love the characters in the story. They are so unique, so different from what you find in most novels, teen and adult. They all have their good points and bad points, and Allende does not keep these from the reader. They are in fact integral to the story. No one is really a hero, except perhaps Alba. The story itself is slightly meandering, but follows a relatively straight course. It builds slowly, and Allende focuses the reader's attention on points that will be important later. I found that it took a long time for me to read - it simply did not keep me reading the way some books do. I enjoyed it, but it wasn't until the end that I became truly engrossed in the story. In the end the story did capture me, but it was the characters that fascinated me throughout the whole book.
This book has been challenged several times in schools since it was published, mainly for its sexual content, and because it "defames" the Catholic faith. It is interesting how a few instances in a story can ruin the whole thing in some people's minds. The book as a whole is well worth the read, and much of the sex is actually integral to the story, and not gratuitous in any way. It would probably be more easily understood by older teens, merely because it is somewhat of a difficult read. A book worth reading, regardless, for anyone who chooses to give it a chance.