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Winter’s Tale: As Awful as Actual Winter

posted Feb 20, 2014, 8:04 AM by Unknown user   [ updated Feb 20, 2014, 8:07 AM ]

Jess Cunningham

        When I initially started Winter’s Tale, I had high hopes. The trailers for the movie looked magical and captivating, so I assumed the book would be the same. It was daunting from a visual standpoint at first, the book in total is 768 pages long. But I knew if it was interesting, I could easily blow right through it.

        The book is set in a spin-off of New York City and has two opposing forces in it, Peter Lake and Pearly Soames. Peter Lake is an orphan of a very strange upbringing who is in the book escaping Pearly and his gang of bad guys and stumbles upon a white horse who helps him escape, basically becoming from that point on his guardian. Later on, while attempting to rob a house Peter meets Beverly, who is dying from consumption. The two fall in love, having to still try and escape Pearly, and the rest you’ll have to find out for yourself, if you feel like reading it.  

        The book is anything but enjoyable, for many reasons. Number one is that Mark Helprin literally has too much detail, which I didn’t think was possible until now. Honestly, the man took about 20 pages to describe one attribute of Pearly, his fascination with paint. The book is so painstakingly slow and confusing for the first at least 50 pages it was a struggle to get through just that much.

        The second reason the book wasn’t that great was because when it actually started to come into a bearable story, with a pretty sea setting with baymen and actual dialogue, there were sex scenes. And not just any sex scenes, but lesbian ones between two young girls. Awkward.

        The third reason the book was awful was because I couldn’t bear to finish it. It’s possible it ends really well but I fell asleep reading it at one point, so I just couldn’t make it there. I love reading, I read Divergent which is a 487 page book, in a day and a half. But this book was just too much. The language was so overwrought at times I thought I was reading Shakespeare.

        Maybe it was because it’s above my reading level, maybe it was a personal thing, but truth be told there aren’t many teenagers I can see wanting to read this book for enjoyment, especially since most teenagers don’t even like reading for enjoyment anyways.

        This is yet another rare example in which the movie is probably better than the book. People rave about this book and apparently hate the movie though, so who knows. If you feel like reading it go ahead and check it out, but be warned it is over 700 tedious pages long, and I would actually rather reread Macbeth than read Winter’s Tale again.