Book Review : Anna Karenina

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★★★½

“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

“Respect was invented to cover the empty place where love should be.”

“If you look for perfection, you’ll never be content.”

Can’t you already tell from these quotes that this book is very depressing and just downright tragic? Because I can and it still kind of hurts. Anyway, let’s get into the actual review of the book. I couldn’t make up my mind whether this book deserves a 3 star rating or a 4 star rating, so I just gave it something in the middle. I spent an entire month reading this book and it left me a bit disappointed with how Tolstoy wrapped up things.

Anna Karenina is a very beloved classic, it has numerous movie adaptations and Anna Karenina, as a character, is a very mysterious and ever-lasting presence in literature. I went into this book with few expectations because I’m not a huge fan of Russian literature (I disliked Lolita, couldn’t get into Crime and Punishment and so on), but it exceeded my expectations. Tolstoy has a way with words that I really love, but he also has a tendency to trivialize very huge plots and make very insignifiant plots to seem like the best thing in the world (when they really aren’t). There were these discussions about politics and agriculture and science in that time that could go on for ages and I could see why they would be interesting for Tolstoy’s readers back then, but now they are just boring and irrelevant. (But I suppose you can’t guess you’ll be a huge thing even in 2017 and prepare for that, right?)

  •    I adored Anna and Vronsky’s relationship (I had to check the blurb to see if this is a spoiler, it’s not), not because it was healthy, but because Tolstoy presented it as a toxic relationship should be presented. I feel like he was trying to moralize a little too much this cheating plot, though, but I guess back in his time, cheating was very taboo (especially if a woman did that).
  •     I think Levin and Kitty deserved better, I wanted to see more of them because they are really cute and I adored them. But then I’m always biased when it comes to side characters.
  •     I loved the foreshadowing, it was mind-blowing and I was a bit sad that I knew what will happen at the end because I would have really loved to connect the dots when the tragedy actually happened.

 

What I didn’t like about the book :

  •     Like I’ve mentioned above, there was this MAJOR PLOT that just got brushed off by Tolstoy. If you skipped a sentence, you might have missed it. And it was huge. And it barely was talked about. WHY? Anna and Vronsky were this hot scandalous thing that everyone talked about and then when that happens, you just do a time jump? I hate you, Tolstoy. Bye.
  •   The ending was very anti-climatic. It ruined everything for me. Anna Karenina was a 4-5 stars read before that ending came. You just get Levin talking about God, religion and philosophy for pages. Without anything. And don’t get me started about how Tolstoy wanted to make parallels between Levin and Anna because I couldn’t care less. That ending stinks.
  • Again… Everything built up to nothing. It felt like Tolstoy was building the intrigue for a huge thing to blow and then it just felt flat. Not satisfied. Nope.

 

Overall, it was a very interesting read. I’m glad that I’ve read it, that I’ve crossed it off my classics to read before I die, but I’m a bit bitter about the wasted potential.

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Have you read Anna Karenina, what were your thoughts on the book? And if not, what is a book that had a very disappointing ending that ruined the entire experience for you?