Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Anna Karenina Book Review

2015 Reading Challenge

25. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
      Topic/Theme: a book published more than 100 years ago (1877)

In their world frivolous liaisons are commonplace, but Anna and Vronsky’s consuming passion makes them a target for scorn and leads to Anna’s increasing isolation. The heartbreaking trajectory of their relationship contrasts sharply with the colorful swirl of friends and family members who surround them, especially the newlyweds Kitty and Levin, who forge a touching bond as they struggle to make a life together.

My Review:
Anna Karenina is one of the best classics I have read. The relationship between Anna and Vronsky was good, but Kitty and Levin's was more compelling, more realistic in a way.  Kitty and Levin had their problems like couples do in the first year of marriage, but always managed to work them out.

Anna and Vronsky had their issues as well, more on Anna's part, but didn't really solve anything. While they did seem to love each other at times, there were also times when they couldn't tolerate each other. I get that things were more complicated because Anna was still married, but I think it could have been handled better at times by both parties. I don't think much would have changed if they had gotten married. Anna always wanted to be in control and while she did seem to forgive Vronsky after an argument, she ended up hurting him, making him pay. I did really wish that Anna and Vronsky would have been able to have worked it all out in the end and gotten married, but that didn't happen. The one thing that surprised me was Anna committing suicide at the end. I wasn't expecting that at all, didn't see it coming. I'm putting myself out there when I say this, but I really felt that Anna had a mental illness or something. If everyday people can have mental disorders, so can a character in a book. 

Alexei Karenin frustrated me when it came to the whole divorce thing. I was actually surprised that he didn't want to leave Anna when he learned of her affair, but then I realized that things were different back then. Divorce, for whatever reason, was unheard of. It was odd that he agreed that she could keep seeing Vronsky as long as she didn't see him in their home. When Anna moves away with Vronsky, Karenin told her that he would divorce her if that's what she wanted. However, he agrees to divorce Anna only if he gets custody of their son, as a way to hurt her, get her back for the affair, even if he didn't have a good relationship with him. I agree with him in that he stood up for his Christian values, but surely there can be extenuating circumstances. I don't agree with him in that he relied on the so called advice/opinion of another person to make the choice of divorcing Anna for him. In my opinion, they should have gotten divorced, but to have shared custody of their son. Would have getting a divorce made things easier for Anna and Vronsky? I don't necessarily think so.

My only other issue is with Stepan and Dolly. For them, I wish they would have been able to come more to common ground at some points. While they would make up with each other, I think they would have been better off if they just made compromises.

To end this, Anna Karenina was a great book. I was able to get really engrossed in the characters, especially with Kitty and Levin and Anna's situation as a whole. I guess I only wished that there would have been at least one perfect couple, but that's not realistic. Marriages may not always be easy and there's no such thing as a perfect couple. Sometimes a marriage works out and sometimes it doesn't and that's okay too. 

Happy Reading and Keep on Writing!


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