Title: A Room With A View
Author: E. M. Forster
What I think so far: This novel is very different to anything I’ve ever read before and so I have struggled engaging with both the language and the story, but I’m reluctant to stop reading it without finishing it, for a multitude of reasons.
First published in 1908, A Room With A View is now considered a classic by many, following the story of a young Victorian girl who feels inhibited by society and what is expected of her. I think this is the main reason why I haven’t given up on the story; I want to find out if she follows the rules, as dictated by her peers, and marries a man she doesn’t love, but comes from a rich family, or if she elopes with a young man she met on holiday in Italy. For most people today, and for myself, the plot seems rather unimaginative and generic, but you also need to consider how it would have been received at the time of publication; in the 1900s, a woman diverging from the set path that so many women have trodden before her would have been outrageous, as is seen in the novel itself. For a man to write such a story is hugely interesting: most men in those times consistently suppressed women into being housewives and mothers, and wouldn’t dream of promoting a woman who made decisions for herself. I think this makes the book more relevant to today’s society, as more and more people become aware of and join the fight for gender equality.
I’m looking forward to finishing A Room With A View, despite the difference in writing style that I’m used to, having only really read modern books before, because of the interesting female lead that Forster has created.
Would I recommend: In essence, yes. In my opinion it’s quite slow going, and if I’m honest, a bit boring most of the time, but I think once I finish it I will be glad I’ve read it. It’s quite a charming story so far and it is interesting to read about a woman’s realisation of her own independence in a completely different era to the one we’re living in.
Words by Ruth Grove