Book Review – Orlando by Virginia Woolf

Orlando by Virginia Woolf    *****    Retails for $10, here.

OK, so before you keep reading I want you to do me (and yourself) a favor. Close your eyes, take a reaaaally deep breath in, hold it for a few seconds, and then let it out. Open your eyes again. Feel better yet?

This sensation of slowing down time is something that I get from meditating, yoga and reading. I’m been doing a lot of this trio lately and I think it’s been working pretty well for me. It really does wonders to take some time out of your day to reward yourself with a little “me time” and relaxation.

I guess the title of this blog post is a little bit of a white lie. I won’t be reviewing Orlando – I couldn’t critique one of the greatest writers of the 20th Century on one of her most popular works. I can however, and will, tell you that the first few chapters of the novel were written with beautiful language, but I found something lacking in the story. By the middle of the novel I understood what was occurring and by the last chapter of the novel, I was thinking about which of Woolf’s books I would read next.

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I don’t think I’ve ever had a favorite chapter of a novel before. Nor do I think that any single quote has ever struck me as one did on these pages. This quote brought the book to life and made it timeless, so-to-speak, especially because of the recent political events occurring in the U.S. these past few weeks.

For what more terrifying revelation can there be than that it is the present moment? That we survive the shock at all is only possible because the past shelters us on one side, the future on another.

Take another deeeep breath and absorb the effervescent meaning of that quote. It’s brilliant. And it’s relevant. This present moment, to the majority of the United States of America, is entirely terrifying. The women of this country are threatened of losing some of their rights. The safety of our country’s minorities is once again at risk. We, as an entity, do not feel that we will be protected or respected.

Many of us, have found so much fear in the event of Trump’s leadership that we’ve taken to protests. The Women’s March was just the beginning. I’ve seen posts about these “new age suffragettes,” calling people to stand up for what we believe is right and shut down what we believe is wrong. Our past shows that we’ve done it once before, and our future shows that there is hope that we will, one day, be able to put our trust in our leadership again.

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The entire last chapter of Orlando is full of this timeless wisdom that Woolf integrates within her story. To me, it is this chapter that makes the entire novel worth reading.

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