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Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf

Hello, readers!  This week we have a guest reviewer.  You might remember Miss Shayne from a post earlier this year during the Staff Picks 2014 series that ran during January and February.  Miss Shayne is reviewing a book that was a required text for one her classes last semester.

Last semester, I took a class about English literature.  We read several short stories and poems, but only one book: Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf.   Mrs. Dalloway takes place after World War I in England.  It is the story of one day in a woman’s life told through different perspectives of several people.  The story converges at a party hosted by the main character, Mrs. Clarissa Dalloway.  The characters all receive some terrible news yet none seem to be affected by it except for Clarissa.

My opinion of this book differed greatly from my professor’s.  While he thought this was one of the most incredible books he had ever read, I had the typical college student’s opinion.   I didn’t like it, and it dragged on and on and on.  However, I seemed to enjoy it more than my classmates (who found it confusing how you could switch from being in one person’s head to being in another’s in the same conversation).   When my professor asked us our opinions of this book, I gave a slightly more positive review than my classmates (maybe because my psyche can’t handle all the time I wasted reading this book;  I had to justify my lost time somehow).

Though I thought this book was a tedious read, I did enjoy some aspects of it.  Much like in real life, the relationships and opinions of the characters in this story shift frequently.   I thought the author captured that beautifully.   I also enjoyed how the characters could look at something mundane and find some value in it.   I can relate to that.   Another thing I liked about this book was the character Ellie Henderson. She’s mentioned only a handful of times throughout the entire story, but she has so much depth.

There may be a time later in my life where I will decide to give this book a second read.   Maybe I will come to appreciate it then.  For now, I’m going to stick with something that will hold my attention.

And to my English professor: If you’re reading this, I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

--Reviewed by Miss Shayne


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