We The Living

We the LivingI must say, it has been a lovely day so far! I love it when I wake up early and am not tired and can get up and start my day! Today I woke up at 7 and was ready to go…and by ready to go I mean that it is now 11 and I’m still in pjs…having eaten breakfast, started my second cup of coffee, and finished no less than one book! Now you’re probably thinking, that’s funny, I thought she’d be packing right now…right you are…I should be packing right now, but instead I’m writing a ‘book review’ on my blog.

I finished this book a couple of weeks ago. It was the second novel that I had to read for my 20th Century European History class, the first being All Quiet on the Western Front. I had never read anything from Ayn Rand before, although, like most people, I had heard of The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. And I can’t say that was thrilled to be reading this, but like the good student that I am, I dove right in…and I’m so glad I did! And I’m looking forward to reading her other works.

I really enjoyed this book. It’s not a happy book, in fact the entire book feels very dark, almost like always picturing Gotham City (maybe that’s just me). This was her very first book that she wrote soon after escaping from the Soviet Union to come to the U.S. She never intended to write a book about the Soviet Union, as there was no love-loss there, but somehow when she went to write her first book, this is what came out and it is because she desperately wanted the world to know about what was actually happening behind the Iron Curtain. Although I haven’t read her other books (other than Anthem), it sounds like they are all somewhat similar – she is for individualism and against socialism and apparently the characters in this book are pretty typical for her novels, but I wouldn’t know. The writing is excellent and the characters are deep, especially the heroine, Kira. I wrote a short paper on how the three main characters represented the three options people faced under the thumb of communism, you can read it here…but don’t if you don’t want the end of the book ruined (oh and don’t judge my writing by this paper, it was written very quickly in order to meet a deadline!). Also don’t read the forwards if you don’t want the end of the book ruined (but definitely read them afterwords!).

I think one thing that is special about this book, other than the intimate view into the life of communist Russia, is that it is the classic story of the heroine sacrificing herself for the hero by giving herself to the villian, only instead it turns out that the hero is the villain and the villain is the hero! I know, that sounds confusing, but within the book it just tears your heart out! I feel like now looking back I can’t explain why I liked this book so much, but I did – my copy has underlining all over it of phrases that stuck out to me and near the end I may have shed a few tears…now I’m just babbling, but all I can say is that it was a good book!

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