15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
An Additional Perspective on Poor Miss Finch,
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This review is from: Poor Miss Finch (Oxford World's Classics) (Paperback)
The two other reviews of this book are extremely perceptive and well-written. I'd just like to add more on what's truly special about this book, and why I think it deserves a little better notice than it gets.
Yes, the plot is improbable, but it's not exactly singular for that alone. A lot of Victorian-era fiction demands we suspend disbelief. It's a fact the Victorian audience wasn't as completely jaded as we are in the 21st century, so judging it by today's standards isn't entirely fair. The book is romantic and at times laughingly improbable, yes, but it's still what I'd consider a ripping good yarn of a book.
Aside from this, what made it exceptional at the time was the fact no one had really written from a blind person's perspective before, or at least not with the sort of detail and thought Collins did. The passages written after Lucilla regains her sight (okay, cat out of bag partially but there's MUCH MORE to it) are wonders of insightful prose. Collins describes her challenges with things like depth perception, and in thinking about it doesn't that make perfect sense? Lucilla has to close her eyes, at first, just to make her way across a room. Distance has no meaning for her as she'd never seen it before, or hadn't since before she was one year old.
Writing was a challenge, too, though she could write when she was blind. She knew how to form characters but couldn't recognize them when she saw them, much less make them by use of her sight. In another very moving scene Lucilla is shown a round and a square object, and asked "which is round?" She couldn't say. She'd never SEEN the concepts of round and square before. Again, she had to close her eyes and feel them both to know the answer.
Throughout all these "tests" Lucilla felt completely humiliated and stupid that she couldn't do these very basic things, and declared she wished she were blind again. Really moving stuff, written with so much empathy and attention to detail.
That's an even more exceptional dimension to Poor Miss Finch, in case anyone wasn't swayed by the great storyline. I recommend it very highly to those who love Victorian fiction and would like to explore more of Wilkie Collins's works.
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Initial post: Nov 22, 2015, 11:48:56 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 22, 2015, 11:51:54 PM PST
Did you *really* just tell others scanning through the reviews that she regains her sight? 'Unbelievably rude spoiler :( You deprived me of my right to thoroughly read & enjoy this book...and Wilkie Collins is one of my all time favorites. Thank you VERY little.
Posted on Nov 22, 2015, 11:50:42 PM PST
[Deleted by the author on Nov 22, 2015, 11:50:56 PM PST]
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