Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Vicar of Wakefield: Review

It occurs to me that I may be more of an 18th century drama person than an 18th century fiction person--at least at this time of my life.  Here in the 40s I have read Tristram Shandy (by Sterne) and now The Vicar of Wakefield by Oliver Goldsmith and I must say that I am underwhelmed.  Give me She Stoops to Conquer or School for Scandal any day.  Vicar has been touted in various places as being humorous and witty.  I'm afraid I'm just not seeing the humor and wit in this tale about a somewhat prosperous vicar and his family who fall out of fortune and into hard times before suddenly (miraculously!) having an extraordinarily happy ending.  The vicar is quite moralistic and quite boring when he gets on one of his sermonizing streaks (and he's generally not in the pulpit at the time....).  And the middle of the book drags (on and on and on).  Things pick up a bit at the end--but the unlikely and rapid way that all is made happy and perfect kind of ruins it for me.

I just don't have a lot to say about this one.  I am much more admiring of Goldsmith's wit and humor in She Stoops to Conquer.  He provides much entertainment in the misunderstandings and family intrigues in that play.  There is, in my opinion, little entertainment in this particular novel. Two stars.

Challenges Met: 150 Plus Reading Challenge, Mount TBR Challenge, Outdo Yourself, Off the Shelf, Mount TBR Challenge, Embarrassment of Riches, 1001 Books Before You Die, Back to the Classics, Book Bingo, Monthly Mix-up Mania


Faith said...

I read this years ago and I remember being really charmed by it! But now I can hardly remember any details. Might have to read it again just to jog the old memory!

Becky said...

I loved She Stoops To Conquer!

JaneGS said...

I couldn't wait to read your review after I posted mine on this dull novel that everybody seems to like.

The humor escaped me completely, while She Stoops to Conquer is truly funny.

Great review of a dull book. I'm with you 100%!