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I love classic books, but I had a rough time with Pamela. I've always wanted to read it, and I'm ultimately glad I slogged through. However, be prepared for it to go on, and on, and on. The plot leaves something to be desired.
The modern woman revolts at Pamela's big "reward." Therefore, you'll have to try hard to appreciate this book in it's historical context.
I highly recommend reading Shamela by Henry Fielding for dessert!
3 of 5 people found this review helpful
You will know pretty quickly if this book is for you. It has its excellences, but the prose is overly ornamental, and so are the characters.
Bless Clare Corbett, she is a wonderful narrator, but she has precious little to work with.
Pamela has barely enough plot or substance for a short story, but Richardson managed to stretch this out to a 600-page behemoth. The format of the novel - a series of letters from Pamela to her parents - seems interesting at first, but becomes unbearable when Richardson wants to impart some moral lesson on the reader (which is very often). As our narrator is a teenage girl of limited life experience, every time 'lofty' ideas are introduced Pamela first has a discussion with some wiser character and then draws up a convoluted bullet-point list of what it means to be a good wife, for example. Even with allowances for a different age and style, this is just dreadful writing.
The storyline itself is appalling. Pamela is subjected to physical and mental torture, including attempted rape, but her go-to response is to pray for everyone and (SPOILER) she marries her sadistic captor in the end, so that's all good, I guess.
Clare Corbett is a joy. She attempts to inject as much emotion and character as possible into a series of very similar and repetitive scenes and I wouldn't have made it to the end without her.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful
A fabulous reading of a highly historically significant book which can be a difficult read due to its length. Highly recommended.