Book Review: Reassessing Sophie’s Choice

Sophie's ChoiceSophie’s Choice by William Styron

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’m halfway through my second reading of Sophie’s Choice. I read it in high school and I don’t know how I got through it. I had loved the movie and was so disappointed in the book. Then I found out that some of my literary idols named it as their favorite book. The humor, especially the sexual comedy, went completely over my head, and all the literary, cultural, and historical aspects were just so much filler to be gotten through between the sections of narrative of Sophie’s life. I remember just hating Stingo and thinking he was boring and self-indulgent. Well, yes, he is, but I didn’t get the ironic significance of that fact. I also had no clue how to read “unreliable narrators” and took it all literally as Styron himself, kind of like when theater or opera audiences not only hate the villain but the actor or singer who plays him and thus don’t applaud but boo.

I’m reading Sophie’s Choice after having just read The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany and The Adventures of Augie March. I can’t think of a more perfect book to be reading along with those excellent books.

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