Friday, May 28, 2010

Book Review: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

It is Friday night and I seriously need to catch up on my book reviews. Earlier this week I read Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. I had heard many interesting things about this book and the series as a whole. That kind of buzz I couldn't just ignore so I picked up this massive brick of a book and dove right in.

The series is about a British young lady named Claire Randall who is returning to her life and her husband after serving as a combat nurse in WWII. While on a "second honeymoon" type trip in Scotland to rekindle the love between her and her husband, Claire is mysteriously swept away through a time portal to the year 1743. While trying to find a way home, she learns about the past, human nature, love and in the end, herself.

Outlander would be considered a historical fiction with a twist of romance added in for flavor. It shows modern day readers that those we would consider to be barbarians by the way they live were human the same as we are. Living in a simpler time with out the use of modern technology did not make this society less intelligent or unfeeling. It also opens the readers mind to bigotry and prejudices that surround us today. In the end, we are all human with the same desires and feelings to drive us as people.

This book moved slowly at first to build a world post WWII and then in the past. This may keep readers from letting themselves flow into the story that is unfolding. Once the worlds are established and the characters start showing their personalities, I could not put the book down. The situations the characters find themselves in over and over again seem unbelievable until you remember that the story is taking place during a time when superstition was the basis of many people's actions. Claire, being a modern woman, brings a number of troubling situations upon herself not remembering religion and superstition was the only logic one could follow at this time. Through out the book she learns more about herself and how she wants to live her life and realizes, maybe the simple type of life isn't as scary as she originally imagined.

I have to place a warning for those with a queasy stomach. This book is not for the faint at heart! There is torture, a high amount of sex, possible rape be strangers, and possessive sex that some consider rape between lovers. Most of the negative reviews I have read about this book hinge on these points. I discount some of these as a bad thing when I think about the time period the majority of the story takes place in. In the 18th century, women were possessions. First of their fathers, then of the their husbands. I actually applaud Gabaldon for placing this conflict in the story. This is one reason why I consider this a historical fiction and not a straight romance novel.

Overall, I loved this book and as soon as I finished I wanted to dive into the next installment of the series. The characters grabbed me and drew me in. Especially the main male character, Jaime. He is who the shirt that says, "Boys in books are so much better" was created for. I gave the book 5 out of 5 stars.

1 comment:

  1. So this is like "Pride and Prejudice" meets "Timecop"? I am however going to agree with your cheers for Gabaldon. Touching on touchy subjects is the best way to touch an audience. Maybe we should reflect on the progress of civilization instead of closing our eyes to the past. We all know what happens when we don't learn from Japan. (cough cough World War I....cough cough World War II)