Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Silas Marner (George Elliot)

So, my 15 year old took a class called "Banned Books" last spring (which he loved). And, one of the assigned books was Silas Marner, so we picked it up at the library and Ben started reading it as I drove him to class one morning.

I didn't ask Ben to review this book because he only read 6 pages of it, but I think I can sum up his impressions pretty accurately, based on what he muttered as we drove along:

"Hasn't she ever heard of paragraphs?"
"I can't even tell what she's talking about."
"Is the whole book like this???!"

Nope, Ben was not a fan. Turned out, every one of his classmates who attempted the book agreed with his assessment, as did the teacher. She decided to choose another book.

I, on the other hand, had read just enough over Ben's shoulder at stoplights, to decide that I couldn't return poor Silas to the library unread.

I couldn't quite figure out why the book had been banned. Religious reasons, maybe?

Anyway, it was a good read, as long as you're not especially attached to paragraphs or white space on the page. And I'd love to find some lit from this era that would appeal to a 15 year old. Any suggestions?


  1. Do you think he might like Wilkie Collins? I think it is one of the very first detective novels... Not sure if same era as George Eliot so maybe I should just move along.

  2. Care, by "same era," I meant vaguely, "books that are kind of old," not "books published around 1861-ish." I was going to say classic lit, but then I got all self-doubting about whether that was what I really meant. Oh, my, am I ever rusty!

    So, here's a fun actuality: "The Woman in White" was published in 1859, which is extremely 1861-ish, so basically you rocked that question.

    I will have him give Wilkie a try, thanks!

  3. I would be interested to know what other books your son's teacher assigned if you wouldn't mind sharing!

  4. I remember my sister being assigned this book - she didn't like it either.

  5. thx for that interesting one. Defenetly also worth a
    Tour to North India

  6. The only George Eliot novel I've read is Middlemarch. I'd highly recommend it, though as a warning it's a very long read.

  7. Akilah, They read Junky by William S. Burroughs, and a book of poetry (he can't remember the poet), and some other short pieces.

    Chris, I've heard Middlemarch is great; it's definitely on my TBR list.

  8. I liked Silar Marner a lot-I liked how the central character changed over time and I liked how the book leaper forward in time.

  9. I think I read Great Expectations when I was about that age and really enjoyed it. If you go to, you can do an advanced search and look for books by publication date. I just did one for "before 1900" and found some choices that might be interesting.

    Amazon Advanced Search