Release Date: May 17, 2012
Challenges: Dust Off Your Classics
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Blurb from goodreads:
This is Oscar Wilde's tale of the American family moved into a British mansion, Canterville Chase, much to the annoyance its tired ghost. The family -- which refuses to believe in him -- is in Wilde's way a commentary on the British nobility of the day -- and on the Americans, too. The tale, like many of Wilde's, is rich with allusion, but ends as sentimental romance. . .
I recently saw a review of this at I Wish I Lived In A Library and it inspired me to read the story. I've seen a few movies based on or inspired by the book but hadn't read the book. I thought maybe I had but once I began reading it, I knew I hadn't.
"The Canterville Ghost" is short, about 70 pages, and is, naturally, very much a product of its time in terms of description and attitudes. Wilde skewers both the American and British upper classes and their mores, writing characters that aren't fleshed out so much as they're stereotypes or tropes given witty dialogue. The rich, know-it-all Americans with their modern, no nonsense attitudes are delightful cliches and drive the ghost, Simon, batty. He finally got a taste of his own medicine. The humor is a mix of laugh out loud and subtle and can be appreciated by adults and children.
The story is told in omniscient third person POV and we never really get inside Simon the Ghost's head though we do see some of his thinking. I appreciated the humor, and the romance, but Simon himself is not terribly likable. His happy ending was hard to believe or rejoice in since we never saw him repent for his actions, the ones before his death or after. Despite, that I enjoyed the story and Simon's creativity. Now I have an urge to re-watch some of the movies.