Life happened, and I had not had much of a chance to read any of the 1001 Books. I started Volume 1 of Samuel Richardson's Clarissa twice and my goodness, it was long, slow, tedious, and I just couldn't get into it. My reading time was taken up by sleeping (pregnancy), reading various magazines, reading to my 2 older kids, pre-reading some elementary literature for the soon to be first grader, playing some Candy Crush (ahem) and just basically doing pretty much everything in the world I could think of that was not reading Clarissa.
That changed this week. I was inspired to open the Kindle app again and restart Clarissa from the beginning. This time I made it through Volume 1. Hurrah! If you can muddle through the old fashioned language and the fact that Richardson takes 8 pages to do what could be summed up in 2-3 paragraphs, the story is not terrible. Basically, Clarissa is a much loved, much doted on, spoiled daughter. Her grandfather leaves her this huge bequest in his will. This frustrates the hopes of her older brother in obtaining a title. Clarissa's chosen suitor, Lovelace, is a decent guy who has kind of a bad reputation. Clarissa's brother prevails upon the family to marry Clarissa off to this gross little guy Solmes in order to get her away from Lovelace and also to get her inheritance away from her to further her brother's prospects of someday getting a title. Clarissa refuses. Will she have to marry Solmes? I guess we have to wait 9 volumes to find out!
The entire narrative is done in letter form between Clarissa and her friend Anna Howe, and there are a couple of letters from Lovelace in there as well. There are definitely some themes in this book, at least so far, that carry through very well to today. What is the extent of a daughter's obligation to her family at the expense of her own happiness?
In any case, volume 1 of 9 down - just 8 more to go. I'm hoping to build momentum here and not have such a long absence from reading and writing this time around!