Not a Book Club Pick: The Thorn Birds

Well, I finished it. And it only took about six thousand years, it seemed like.

There are two main reasons I'm not using this book for my book club:

1. It is over 500 pages. That is not usually a challenge for me, yet it really did seem like it took a veeeeerrrrryyyy long time to read. (Actual reading time: about four weeks). In fairness, I did read two other books during the reading of this, plus I taught school, cleaned out my Tivo, and knitted a LOT.

2. It is depressing. In addition to the extreme Lefty Prejudice, there is also this: everybody dies. Let me check: (all of these are in relation to Meggie, who I see as the main character)

Dad: burned to death
Brother 1: imprisoned for 30 years, so sort of like dying
Brother 2: influenza (or something, I forget)
Brother 3: gored by a boar
Brother 4: shot (I think)
Brother 5: made sterile in the war (death of future generations)
Aunt: dead, because she was tired of living (also, disgusting death scene)
Husband: would rather cut sugar than be with her (death of marriage)
Son: heart attack after saving women from drowning
Lover: death after son's funeral

So ... yep. Lots of death.

Then, there is this problem I always have with priests who don't live by their vows. Specifically, in this book, that would be Father Ralph, who moves up the Vatican Ladder (I don't know if that's a real thing) to become a Cardinal.

Father Ralph inherits a BUNCH of money (13 million pounds) from Meggie's aunt, but in her will she stipulates that he can give it over to Meggie's dad if he wants to. He does not.
Violations: Poverty, Obedience

Father Ralph sleeps with Meggie. Violations: Celibacy, Obedience

He confesses, but does not repent. Violation: Obedience

He does it again. Violations: Celibacy, Obedience

He's still not sorry. Violation: Obedience

I do not like Father Ralph. Either be a priest or be a man, that's how I see it. Admittedly, I am neither a priest nor a man, but I'd think it would fairly clear that he needs to devote himself either to the Church or to a woman; cheating on one or the other hurts everybody involved.

The novel goes from the early 1900s to the 1960s. Most of it takes place in Australia. Now, I always thought I'd like to go to Australia, myself, but I don't want to go to the one described in the book. What I mean is, I will not be visiting any sheep stations, with their bugs and their droughts and their dust storms. There are not, however, any rabbits, as they were apparently wiped out with some sort of biological weapons (in the book).

My favorite character is Justine, Meggie's independent, strong-willed, sarcastic daughter. I'm sure I don't know why.

My next step is to watch the mini-series, which I think is not much like the book. (Except the priest part, as everyone knows).

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