Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Actual

I love The Actual. It is by far my favorite work we've read all semester. It reminds me a little of The Great Gatsby, but taking place in Chicago. I feel like I can really connect with Harry; he's weird and awkward, but in a good way. He's trustworthy and interesting. I really enjoy him. I also love the character of Amy. I think Bellow does a great job of crafting characters who are similar to people we all have met in real life. I have a few friends who married their high school sweet hearts and now they're all in similar situations to Amy's. I also really enjoyed the mentions of Chicago places and people. When I started reading, I was very excited that he calls Forest Park "the burial grounds" I found that extremely hilarious and enjoyable. (That's where I live, and it is sort of like a burial ground.) Bellow is very accurate in his description of places. While I am in no way acquainted with the wealthy classes in Chicago, I imagine that they are very much like the portrayal in the novel. The characters seem so realistic that I wouldn't doubt if these people sat down to lunch with the Daleys or bought a condo on the lakefront. Everything about this book was great in my opinion. It's story doesn't drag on too long, and it's easy to follow what's going on, yet he tackles some interesting and introspective concepts. The language is precise and beautiful yet not overly embellished. Pretty much, I have no complaints. I am definitely going to get Augie March, because if this is any indication of Bellow's excellent command of language, I want more. And I really hope Lee comes to class today, because I would really like to see those Bellow/Hefner letters...

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