Summary: News of the suicide of volatile artist Vincent van Gogh rocks Parisian baker and artist Lucien Lessard and his good friend Henri Toulouse-Lautrec. Compounding issues is the sudden reappearance of Lucien’s MIA girlfriend, Juliette and the nasty little guy who’s known as The Colorman. Lucien and Henri take the reader for a ride on the crazy train, encountering figures in the French art scene along the way.
What I Liked : Author Christopher Moore is uproariously humorous. There were numerous “ROL” (read out loud) moments throughout this novel. Characters such as fictitious Lucien and Juliette appealed greatly. The physical book is gorgeous with images discussed in the narrative and has blue typing.
What I Disliked : Some curse words here and there don’t bother me but the language used by various characters was beyond nasty. Also, I thought sometimes Moore crossed the line between amusingly irreverent and crazy wicked. One point late in the novel made a reference to bestiality that had major cringe factor.
Voltaire, & Donnelly, D. (1986). Candide. Charlotte Hall, MD: Recorded Books.
Candide is the illegitimate nephew of Baron Thunder-ten-tronckh of Westphalia. Yet, Candide lives in the Baron’s castle is under the tutelege of Pangloss. Thanks to his optimistic tutor, Pangloss, Candide thinks everything is hunky-dory wonderful. Life is good for Candide until he kisses the Baron’s lovely daughter, the Lady Cunégonde. Candide then finds himself out in the cold, cruel world with no skills for survival. Throughout the book, Candide experiences out-of-this world tortures and deprivations. Will Candide maintain his “glass is half-full” optimism, only the end will tell us.
A precursor to Pollyanna, Candide seems set upon thinking the best will prevail. Yet, catastrophe pursues him and those he knows. Obviously, life isn’t so grand. While those around him adapt, Candide never seems to get the hang of the “real world.” He’s just a good, ignorant guy. Often, the adage “No good deed goes unpunished” rules the life of Candide.
This was pretty good; a tongue in cheek sort of tale which highlights the absurdity of philosophical bents towards optimism. Of course, pessimism isn’t what’s needed, either. No, what is a essential is a balance of happy and sad.