The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells

Picture this. You’re 23 years old. It’s Friday night. You live in NYC. What are you doing? Let me guess. Reading a book and then writing a blog post about a book you didn’t even enjoy?

Yes, I lead an exciting life. Also in my defense it’s been rainin’/snowin’/wintry mixin’ outside all day and staying in bed reading a mediocre novel seemed better than walking around NYC drinking cheap alcohol. So cheers to Friday nights in.

Anyways, The Invisible Man. Back to back H.G. Wells reading. Not crazy about him to be completely honest. The Invisible Man picked up toward the end, but up until then I was really not into it. It’s only a couple of hours of reading and I started over a week ago. It should not take that long to read. No matter how busy my week was (hint: not that busy).

For one, the raging feminist in me was not pleased with the complete lack of female characters in both The Time Machine and The Invisible Man. You can hardly count the non-english speaking futuristic creature in The Time Machine and the nagging innkeeper in The Invisible Man. I know, I know. It was written over a hundred years ago, times were different. It is still irritating. God forbid a woman enter into a science fiction novel and play a nontrivial role. Anyways, if anyone has some good feminist novel suggestions (or at least something with strong female characters), please post them in the comments. I need that right about now.

Even setting aside my feminist rage, I simply didn’t care for the novel as a whole. Plot: a man makes himself invisible; said man becomes destructive; man frightens people; man is killed. Oops, spoiler, sorry. At any rate, it just didn’t do it for me. I will say, it has really been an eye opener for the next time someone asks me what super power I would choose. Invisibility might have been right up there on my list, but boy did I not think of the many consequences and difficulties that come along with that power. So thanks, Wells. Enlightening. I will now laugh at the naïve individuals that think invisibility is a superior super power.

Jokes aside, I’ll be serious for one quick moment. I did like this quote,

“Great and strange ideas transcending experience often have less effect upon men and women than smaller, more tangible considerations.”

The narrator says this after people quickly move on from the idea that an invisible man could have existed. Even the people who “saw” him with their very own eyes eventually question themselves. It’s too outlandish, it can’t be. This reminds me of the scene in Stranger Things where the reporter suggests that they “water down” the story about Hawkins Lab. For people to believe it, it needs to be more familiar, less inexplicable. I am going to sound like a lunatic now, but imagine any strange things that have happened to you. We always explain them away so that they seem less crazy. But maybe they aren’t? Nah, they totally are, but hopefully you see my point. Maybe?

Okay well moving on to my next book. Not sure which one yet, my list seems to get longer every week. One other (kind of unrelated) thing. For anyone that doesn’t have the time to read or would just like a refresher on past books you’ve read, I would really recommend the podcast Overdue. It’s just two guys that discuss a book a week. There are nearly 300 episodes so far and they are still airing new ones. I’ve listened to a few to jog my memory on books I’ve read in the past – The Book Thief, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, and Fahrenheit 451 along with the 2.5 hour long episode of one I haven’t read, Infinite Jest. So far I’m a pretty big fan. They don’t tend to spoil the book, rather they talk about the ideas set forth and make jokes along the way. It’s my distraction on the treadmill. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

 

Happy Friday!

 

4 comments

  1. I know what you mean. There are a few writers who I just CAN’T read – Flaubert, Garcia-Marquez…They put me right out. So, I don’t even try anymore. You’re only 23 so you will stick with it. When you get to be my age, the book gets tossed after a few pages if it’s not workin’ for me! If you gravitate towards certain genres, stick with those to start out. If you’re interested in something, stay with it. If you’re not, let it drop. It’s ok not to like what others think is “important.” And keep reading!

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  2. If you want to read a fantastic autobiography, try Diana Nyad’s Find a Way. After 7 attempts, she finally swam from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage at the age of 64. She is a survivor of sexual abuse at the hands of her coach when she was a teenager. She is such an inspiration. Oh…and she speaks French!

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