I know I know…this was published in 1989. But I noticed that I had not given a book review to what is certainly one of my favorite books of all time. Here it goes!
Look – I will be frank with you. I have never been into Jane Austin – I appreciate what Austin did, and I understand they are classics because they are “a sign of the times” – but I will never be able to curl up with a Jane Austin book. It took me some time to admit that. There is a lot of peer pressure regarding Austin. All great writers are supposed to love Jane Austin….I mean…who doesn’t? Right? Well….I don’t. And I know saying you don’t like Jane Austin is like saying you don’t like The Beatles. I mean, what kind of moron says that? That, at least, I can attest to. I do love The Beatles (pheeeww!!) – hence my son Jackson’s middle name is Lennon. I wanted to name him just Lennon – but that’s a whole other blog entry that finds my husband and I constantly arguing over the coolest name on the planet for our first born son. Oookay…so back to Pillars.
When a friend approached me some years ago about reading Pillars of the Earth, I was a little gun shy. Was it another “English novel” imitating the works of Austin? My friend assured me it was the best book she had ever read. When I asked her to explain to me why was it the best, all she could do was shake her head and mumble…”you just have to read it…I cannot even explain.”
Not even explain? Not the answer I was looking for. At almost 1000 pages long, Pillars of the Earth was quite the commitment. A book based in the 10th century – focused primarily around the construction of a cathedral and the lives of those it affected. What? How can that remotely sound interesting? Construction? The 10th Century? Priors? Bishops? Tom the Builder?
But I write young adult! Fantasy even! How can I like this kind of book, how can I love Pillars of the Earth?
I will tell you the same thing I will tell any teen (or non-teen, you know who you are!) that would read any of my books. Let me just put it to you this way. This book is so good it cannot be described in words. It is not a book, it is an experience. It is Melrose Place, 90210, Gossip Girl, Grays Anatomy, Mad Men, all rolled up into one big historical fiction novel that will leave you at the edge of your seat every minute of the way. And the language…oh the language is beautiful. Easy, flowing, elegant English.
Written in a masterful omniscient third point of view – Follet achieves the drama, action, love, hate, death, birth through the lives of each of the characters. I did not want this book to end.
Oprah picked it up in 2007 (a little late there sister, but who am I to talk! I am just writing a review about it now!) – and she claimed it to be one of her favorite books ever.
If you have not read Pillars of the Earth, run to the store and get it right now! Believe me, you will want to keep this book for good.
I give it ten magic wands.