Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover

The old cliche is true, as I have recently discovered. I had always believed in it, though I don’t think I’ve ever had the chance to actually practice it.

This summer I was assigned to read “The Killer Angels,” a novel about the Civil War at the battle of Gettysburg. I didn’t think it would be awful, but I didn’t expect to like it, and I certainly didn’t anticipate that it would get me to shout at the book in uncontrollable spurts of joy and anxiety. Now that is true reader interaction!

The novel begins from the POV of the Confederates, and then switches to the Union. Each side is written in turn, and often from different generals’ and officers’ POVs. I was really forcing myself to read this book, only enjoying it when I caught an occasional laugh from lines such as, “Sometimes when you were around Englishmen there was this ridiculous tendency to imitate them,” and, “shocked his staff by going into battle once wearing carpet slippers.” However, after getting past much of the set up, and being only entertained by minimal jokes and the bonds between these army men, I became tense as the battle began and there was need for aid on the Union’s side. This was around page 80, and then comes Reynolds to save the day! All of a sudden I shouted (and did the fist/downward movement) “Yes!”

That was a glorious time for me to actually become engaged fully in this novel. Pages later I was sent whirling by a plot twist, the death of a spectacular character, and then the tense battle as the Union was left uncommanded, but still holding defense. The chapter ends as the Union waits for more aid.

What a book! It’s just proof that you CAN NOT judge a book by its cover, even almost 100 pages in!

So take it easy, folks, when you have to read something you’d rather not. Bear with it, endure, and you may just end up being a cheerleader for your favorite characters…like me. 🙂

1 Comment (+add yours?)

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