I’ve Endured 100 Years of Solitude

one hundred years of solitudeThat sounds a bit dramatic doesn’t it? I’ll clarify: I’ve read the book One Hundred Years of Solitude and it felt like an endurance test.

Now I know, I know this is a world renowned book and so this is not going to be an unpopular opinion to hold- so just hear me out (or cover your ears if you’re a huge fan). In all fairness, I can see this is a very well written book- but to be brutally honest I have to admit I found it insufferably boring. It’s very rare that I read a book and think “yeah it’s well written, sure it may be a masterpiece, but oh my god MAKE IT STOP!” It felt like having my braincells slowly fed to the fishes.

And on top of that, while I feel the urge to acknowledge it is well written, I *hated* the writing style. Now this isn’t a complaint exclusive to this book- anyone that knows me may very well have heard my rant about stream of consciousness books. I make no secret of the fact that I can’t stand long ambling paragraphs that go nowhere, mean nothing, and express a jumble of thoughts and emotions. In short: I like coherence! And for me, stream of consciousness just doesn’t do that.

Reading this kind of thing always has the same affect: I skim. And I hate skimming more than anything. There were points when I was suffering through (*ahem*) reading this, that I just thought “jeez- I’m going to blow my brains out if I have to suffer through another page of this”.

The characters, the setting, the plot are all well-drawn- sure, sure, sure, check, check, check. (Boy I’ve never felt the need to defend my opinions this much). But for goodness sake, stop making me feel for being punished for liking reading. I felt like my mind was being ground into dust. I’m sure the book’s legendary symbolism was excellent- but I failed to grasp any on it cos I was, as I said, *so bored*. And if not enjoying this book makes me a total pleb, then so be it- cos I never want to read anything like this again. I hope you all have more luck with it.

In summary: I hate stream of consciousness writing. Please don’t make me read it.

Rating: 1/5 bananas

half banana

(Because I’m feeling generous, it got more than a banana peel)

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57 thoughts on “I’ve Endured 100 Years of Solitude

  1. Esther says:

    I read this in highschool so I don’t remember much, but I know I really enjoyed reading it. I love magical realism and this is THE classic of magical realism. I was mesmerized by the stream of consciousness and all the details the story has, but if you hate that style I totally understand how much you suffered haha
    I’m impressed that you were able to finish it! Did the names being all the same thing drive you nuts? I remember checking the family tree time and time again, but having fun with it. I have a feeling you hated that hahah

    Liked by 1 person

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      Yeah I know- and I usually like magical realism, so this being the founding-father of all magical realism made me desperate to like it. But honestly, as I said, I absolutely hate stream of consciousness- I’ve never enjoyed anything in that style- and I just wanted to give up at so many points. It was just painful for me to read. Yes- I couldn’t keep track of any of it to be honest! Maybe if I’d had a family tree in my edition it would have helped. I had no idea who anyone was or what was going on half the time :/ It took me *months* to finish this, cos I read it alongside loads of others- I just really wanted to give it a fair chance and not to give up on it, simply because of the prestige of the book and because, as you said, it’s the first magical realism book. It wasn’t worth it though :/

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Rachael says:

    I feel like people who use the term “pleb” can’t be plebs. (Does that sound weird?) To me this book read like a soap opera that is meant to comment on society. Horrible things happen and then we forget all about it. I also read it in Spanish and that made it a different kind of challenge. I think I appreciated the whole thing more. I appreciate a challenge.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Eve Messenger says:

    One star for a classic. Bold move, Orangutan. Seriously, I can relate. I recently read The Kite Runner and was, like, wait, THIS is what all the fuss was about? Sure, it was great to gain insight into pre- and post-war torn Afghanistan, but talk about a melodramatic book. And I could not stand the main character who, I guess, we were supposed to feel sorry for. I dunno.

    Liked by 1 person

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      haha I know- this was a bit of a hard one to be harsh about, cos I don’t mind giving low ratings to books I don’t think are any good- but in this case I can see it’s a good book, I just happened to hate it (and since I’ve always said my rating system is subjective, I didn’t really have much of a choice about the rating 😉 ) Ahh I hate the main character of the kite runner too, but I did like the melodrama- especially as it comes from a really interesting perspective. I don’t know if we were supposed to feel sorry for him- I thought we were supposed to help him (admittedly, I may have had my opinion shaped by someone who wrote an essay about hateful, unreliable narrators and this was one of the books she chose to write about- I proofread that before I read this book)

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Clemence says:

    I can relate to your comments so much. i read the book twice, the first time i was 15 and it wasn’t my cup of tea so at the age of 22 i tried again, maybe i missed something because of the age i read it before, but no .. I just didn’t enjoy it. It may be well written and all, yet not all books can be enjoyed at the same level by everyone.

    Liked by 2 people

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      Ahh I’m glad you said that- cos I was worried I was the only one! Exactly- even I can see it’s well written, it’s just not my cup of tea, no matter how I try to approach it :/ I wasn’t hugely fond of love in a time of cholera either, but I didn’t hate it as much as this one

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Nicola Alter says:

    Yeah, skimming is a bad sign… once you start skimming you know you’re probably never going to enjoy the book, but you keep half-reading it anyway!
    The title of this book never appealed to me (even the title sounds boring!) and now reading your review I have even less desire to read it than I did before 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      Yeah it definitely is! I agree- once I start skimming I know there’s no way I’m ever gonna like it- it’s usually just cos I’ve wasted enough time on it and want to be able to say I finished it. Yeah I know right- i feel like I should have known!! But it is well written- so don’t rule it out on my account 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Holly says:

    This is on my TBR to read before the end of the summer… I’m hoping it’s not horrible :/ Great review, though– I love how you were brutally honest, even though you didn’t enjoy the novel. That’s so refreshing to see in a book review!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Lola @ Hit or Miss Books says:

    LOL! omg, those are some really strong thoughts there!! ahha, poor brains, I hope they’re alright now. Man do I hate when feeling obligated to skim. I mean, I like beautiful writing, but long, unecessary paragraphs that have no purpose are so darn annyoing.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. luvtoread says:

    I haven’t read this book, but I did read his book Love in the Time of Cholera which I disliked so, so much. I love how you titled this review, that you “endured” 100 Years of Solitude. I feel the same way about Love in the Time of Cholera. I doubt I’ll be reading 100 Years of Solitude any time soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Read Diverse Books says:

    I can totally relate! Well, I wouldn’t rate it 1 star, but I thought it was kind of boring at parts. It’s definitely not my favorite book ever, not even close, but I thought it was OK. Never wanted to read it again, though. Nope.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Zezee says:

    Aww man. I should have covered my ears/eyes/ whatever. I loved this book and I think the mixture of characters and all the “confusion” and magical realism makes it great. But I know some are turned off by that too. It’s not a straight forward story.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Gus says:

    I thought it was incredible how all the characters in the family are interrelated through particular surreal characteristics, and how Marquez weaves the plot to make connections between these characters. The end of the story justifies the beginning – it’s definitive in that everything introduced is eventually settled, over the course of generations. The scope of the novel is impressive enough

    Liked by 1 person

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