Thursday, February 5, 2015

The Importance of being Earnest // Book Review

The Importance of being Earnest
By Oscar Wilde

{* * * * *} five of five stars.

Gwendolyn Fairfax believes Jack- a name she dislikes- Worthing is Ernest-a name she loves. Jack’s friend Algernon Moncrief pretending to be Jack’s brother Ernest falls in love with Cecily Cardew who adores the name Ernest and dislikes Algernon.

What are the two men to do? Both must now be Ernest.

     My first introduction to Oscar Wilde, and The Importance of being Earnest, was the movie by the same title, staring Collin Firth and Judy Dench. (And others of little, to none, importance to me as it was the performances of these two which stuck out to me the most as brilliantly acted, and superbly ridiculous. although Reese Witherspoon and whomever played Gwendolyn did an excellent job as well.) It was delightful, extremely humorous and utterly ridiculous. {as a side note, it was great fun to see Mr. Firth in a ridiculous, dorky role, as opposed to his near perfection in P&P. I love him just as much as a dork as a perfect English gentleman of high standards, sense and fortunes.} After watching the film several times, I decided it was high time to acquire a copy of the book via the library, and read it through. A wise decision, if I may say so myself. I have now read this story twice, and have plans to buy a copy for myself soon. 

     Firstly, the story itself is easy to read, though it is in a play form, and without the descriptions, narratives, etc. that would normally accompany a story. There is, of course, the necessary “prompts,” {I.e Lane is arranging afternoon tea on the table, and after the music has ceased, ALGERNON enters.}, setting the stage for each new scene and action. But being a play, all the action and importance is in the script.
     Secondly, the script of this play is positively genius! For Example:

{Whilst JACK puts out his hand to take a sandwich. ALGERNON at once interferes.}
Please don’t touch the cucumber sandwiches. They are ordered specially for Aunt Augusta.
{Takes one and eats it.}
Well, you have been eating them all the time.
That is quite another matter, as she is my Aunt.

Or this lovely bit:
How can you sit there, calmly eating muffins when we are in this horrible trouble,  can’t make out. You seem to me perfectly heartless.
Well, I can’t eat muffins in an agitated manner. The butter would probably get on my cuffs. One should always eat muffins quite calmly. It is the only way to eat them.
I say it’s perfectly heartless your eating muffins at all, under the circumstances.
When I am in trouble, eating is the only thing that consoles me. Indeed when I am in any really great trouble, as any one who knows me intimately will tell you, I refuse everything except food and drink. At the present moment I am eating muffins because I am unhappy. Besides, I am particularly fond of muffins.

And one of my favoritest quotes:
If I am occasionally overdressed, I make up for it by being immensely overeducated. 

     I must admit to laughing my way through this entire book/play. It’s perfect nonsense, and it must be treated as such. (so please don’t sit down expecting something serious or in any way intellectual. You must be prepared only to giggle at the sheer ridiculousness of the characters, the silly lines, and fun. 

Thirdly, I heartily recommend this book to anyone in search of a lighthearted read, something British and just plain entertaining and fun. I also recommend the movie. Both are incredibly brilliant, actually, at least in my book. 

1 comment:

I read and appreciate every comment. :)