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IrinaZ

IrinaZ

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The Apothecary's Garden
Julie Bozza

Outlander

Outlander - Diana Gabaldon BR with Sofia, Rosa and Otila

Finally

After so many years of working up the courage,

I've read the Outlander,

And 'met' Jamie and Claire..

Now, I would have liked to say everything I think and feel here, but I'm afraid, my head is a mess, and I can't form any coherent thought right now.

Because, I might have started it like this..



But that's how I've finished it..



So, here's my rambling.

It's a well-known fact by now how LOOOOOOOONG the book is. What people who haven't read it don't realise is that 70% of it is irrelevant and rather tiring. I, personally, love Scotland and so, at the beginning, found myself truly fascinated with the beauty of it by the way it's described. I thought they were important details, making it easier for a reader to find their way to that part of the world and fall in love with the Highlands. So that worked for me quite well.

Then, I got distracted by Claire's behaviour and could think of nothing else but this: why had she so easily abandoned every thought of her husband, how could she betray him so easily, and then the worst - why, when Jamie risked so much for her, had she run away from him selfishly. I couldn't stand her attitude for the most part of the book. It saddened and infuriated me.

Then we have Jamie. Our lovely, brave but oh so innocent Jamie-laddie. I adored him from the moment he's introduced in the book. And kept on loving him and feeling sorry on his behalf right up until the point, when he'd beaten Claire nearly to death as a punishment. I know, it's about different times where wives obeyed their husbands and got punished all the time. But I read it in the 21st century, and my very core protested against it. I didn't like it. And that made me even moodier.

On we read about millions of absolutely unnecessary things, descriptions of flowers, birds, healing tactics, lots and lots of silly things that in small measures would add to the story and my general knowledge nicely, but in quantities like this, just overload me to the point of explosion.

Now, don't get me wrong, the writing is brilliant! And DG definitely knows how to weave a story and keep a reader intrigued. I've noticed how she tried to find the excuses for her MC's actions up until the very end. But I wanted to draw my own conclusions. And, I found it irritating that in the end she even wrote a chapter titled Absolution, in which she tries to make us accept and forgive all their sins. I didn't like that either, and found her many convenient twists of the plot quite manipulative.

However, there was a point in a book, where I couldn't put it down. It was the highlight of the whole story, in my opinion. That happened when Jamie rescued Claire from being executed as a witch, took her away from the Castle Leoch, and on the way he FINALLY gets the truth from her. And Jamie, bless him, takes her to the stones. To her husband. He lets her go.. That was the best part by far! I thought, if it carries on like this, I'll end up loving it after all.

But no. After some peace and quiet comes horrible storm. And it tore me to pieces.

I'm not a faint-hearted reader. Usually, I can handle quite a lot of gore. But the rape scene just scrubbed me raw. Now I understand why so many Outlander fans don't want to go into Lord John Grey series. The homosexuality is portrayed here in the worst light possible, eliciting very strong feelings of hatred and disgust towards it. And, even though it might be corrected in the books that follow, a reader will still remember that scene and cringe with the image of it. I couldn't help but feel the wrongness of it somehow. Maybe it was just me, rebelling against any prejudice. But I hated it.

And, to finish me off, my lovely innocent Jamie, whom I've started to forgive at the sight of all his tortures, goes off the rail completely and beats his Claire again. After he swears to never ever do that. It broke my trust in him. And it broke my heart.


So, that's how I feel after so many days, late nights and every free minute of reading. The best word would be depressed. Because I feel tired and moody and betrayed. And even though, there were some nice things about this epic saga, I found my interest declining rapidly towards the end that made me even more frustrated. From now on, I'll be wary of such long books, that's for sure. And in this case, I'd rather wait for the TV series to come out to find out how does this story continue. Because, even though I'm a patient reader, this was too much even for me.

I'd only like to add that I can understand how so many others would love this book. It's very easy to forget that it was written 23 years ago when things were slightly different. And I'm pretty sure, had I picked this up when I was younger and more naive and when my brain wasn't soaked with hundreds of various modern books, I'd have adored it and carried the dear memory of it through my life, too. But having waited for so long, and expected something out of this world extraordinary, it didn't stand a chance in this day and age for me. However, I'm grateful for the experience and still would like to watch the series. No more tomes for me in the nearest future though.

Thank you, Sofia, Rosa and Otila, for trying very hard to push it, even when it got stuck along the way. I said it and I'm saying it again - I wouldn't blame you if you DNF it. After all - reading is for pleasure, not a torture. So have fun with your usual books, girls! And don't force yourself ;)