I just finished The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton. Here’s an admission about how superficial I am about books. Before I started this project, I lumped all the 1800s books into the “boring” category and figured I’d just get through them for the sake of having read them.
Well, I’m really, really glad I read this one. It was SO GOOD!!! (I envision Marissa nodding her head and saying, duh.) I’m sure I’m missing some really important themes and everything, but this was a fantastic story and fun to read. It takes place among the very very wealthy in New York City. Which, (here comes the superficial part) was kind of a breath of fresh air. No one in the book is hungry. There are no dead babies. No one is pooping outside anyone’s window. The characters don’t even really work. Their time is spent going to dinner parties and the opera and Newport. They wear beautiful clothes, ride in nice carriages and basically lead a fantastic, fun life.
Now that all sounds wonderful but I think part of the idea behind the book is that even in that environment there is still conflict and things are not as great as they seem. But I was still left with the impression that the characters were lucky to have the luxury to feel the ambivalence that they do. One’s troubles are just different when you have unlimited funds.
I really enjoyed reading this – it was one of those books that I wish were longer because I just wanted to keep reading!