I’ve always confused A Room with a View with A Room of One’s Own. I recently reviewed a book about how to understand literature, and it recommended one or both of those two books. I can’t remember which. I’ll read them both! Amazon recently released a free version of A Room with a View, so I downloaded and gave it the old college try. ARWAV, as the kids call it (no they don’t) is clever, cheeky, romantic, and Romantic. I may not be the target audience for the book, but I lapped it up all the same.
ARWAV centers around Lucy Honeychurch, a young English lady touring Italy with her cousin, Miss Bartlett. Lucy is proper, but has a bit of a wild side. She is into commoners, music, and l-i-v-i-n. She’s torn between how she should act and how she wants to act. Miss Bartlett, her older cousin, is grumpy and kind of a whiner. Lucy doesn’t want to end up like her. She wants to be more like the freewheeling woman novelist staying at their hotel, or even the friendly Mr. Emerson. He’s a crazy, old coot that’s into nature and being nice to everyone. Mr. Emerson also has a broody, bare-chested son called George. He’s not haughty like Darcy. He’s the cooler kind of broody, like Heath Ledger in 10 Things I Hate About You. Lucy wonders about this George fellow.
The essence of the novel is this – which way will Lucy go? Will she live like she’s supposed to live, or will she live like she’s supposed to live> Class, love, selling out, art, travel – it’s all here in Forster’s novel. While the book is 110 years old (I looked it up), it feels fresh and relevant as ever. I laughed out loud several times, highlighted pretty sections (“Though life is very glorious, it is difficult.”), and found the romantic aspect of the book to be very sexy.