Saturday, May 16, 2015

Never Again: "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Never Again is my version of a DNF (Did Not Finish) review. In my case, even if I put down a book, I'll often come back later and pick it up again. In the case of a Never Again, or as I call it on Goodreads, Will-Never-Finish, I really never intend to pick it up again because I've wasted enough dang time on it already.

I picked up The Scarlet Letter because it is one of those deceivingly 'short' classics I have retro copies of. I also had seen some movies with the basic plot of it (most notably Easy A) and thought, 'It really can't be too bad,' even though the average rating on Goodreads was 3.33 Stars. (Omen #1: The average Goodreads rating was low, even though this book is a 'classic').

The Plot: (As Seen on Goodreads)
'Set in the harsh Puritan community of seventeenth-century Boston, this tale of an adulterous entanglement that results in an illegitimate birth reveals Nathaniel Hawthorne's concerns with the tension between the public and the private selves. Publicly disgraced and ostracized, Hester Prynne draws on her inner strength and certainty of spirit to emerge as the first true heroine of American fiction. Arthur Dimmesdale, trapped by the rules of society, stands as a classic study of a self divided.'

Gave Up On This Book on Page: 93/254

Problem #1:
Even though I was reading this in a captive audience situation (i.e. had no other entertainment readily available), I wasn't a captive audience. I couldn't focus on this book for the life of me, mostly because I started not at the actual story, but an addendum that the author tacked onto the beginning, The Custom House (which is technically labeled an introductory, but does nothing except wax poetic).

Problem #2:
Absolutely snoring boring use of description, symbolism, etc. Every other page had to be description. This wasn't really a book- it was a word painting.

Problem #3:
This is one of those books where you swear you've read fifty pages... but you've only read five. It isn't the case of the typesetting being tiny, either- mine has a larger print. It just feels like you're reading regurgitated description, people's movements being made into slow motion, and every instinct inside your reader-centric body is telling you to give up. Well, I did.

Rating: Banished from my pile for being exceptionally tiresome. Never Again!


  1. I HATE this book. We had to read it in high school. That horrible writing still haunts me.

    1. I would cry if I had to read this for school. I like dense books, but I don't like books that were made purposefully to be tortuous to read, and with this book... I kind of wonder if that's the case. Mr. Hawthorne is a short story writer, and I think this would be better as a ten page story.
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Becca!
      ~Litha Nelle


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