Book Reviews

Book Review: Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf

MrsDalloway  Thoughts: Every so often I like to pick up a classic and this book has caught my eye recently. (Okay, I’ll admit, I liked the cover a lot.) I’ve heard quite a few things about a movie called The Hours that has been inspired by this novel. I’m looking forward to seeing that film soon. I have never read a book by Virginia Woolf before and multiple people told me this was the one to start with.

Goodreads Summary: In this vivid portrait of one day in a woman’s life, Clarissa Dalloway is preoccupied with the last-minute details of party preparation while in her mind she is much more than a perfect society hostess. As she readies her house, she is flooded with far-away remembrances. And, met with the realities of the present, Clarissa reexamines the choices she has made, hesitantly looking ahead to growing old. Undeniably triumphant, this is the inspired novelistic outline of human consciousness.

This book is widely known for its iconic first sentence, “Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself” and I have to say that this is one of my favorite openings ever. Within the first sentence the reader is able to get an idea of how independent Mrs. Dalloway is and I don’t know about you but I admire that. This book is written in a stream-of-consciousness style, meaning that it stays true to how humans really think. All their thoughts are jumbled together. Normally books written like this irritate the heck out of me, but the way that Woolf sets it up made it surprisingly easy for me to follow. I also believe that because I finished this book in two sittings, I didn’t get confused when I picked it up later.

While Mrs. Dalloway is planning her party we are thrown into her past as she looks back on her life. Her story is also coupled with the story of a man named Septimus Smith who has just returned from World War I. Though the two have never met, the reader is able to compare and contrast them by their thoughts. This as you may guess gives a new perspective on the choices that are made in everyday life. This book makes you question, “are the choices we make the right ones?” Woolf doesn’t shy away from any themes. Quick note: I found that this book was full of drama and at times I was kind of annoyed but what’s life without a little drama?

There’s a lot packed into this book and it might not be for everyone, but I enjoyed it immensely. If you are looking for a classic, there you go. Woolf’s writing is in a way poetic and the way she writes the thoughts of both female and male characters has blown me away.  Overall, this book wasn’t perfect but I think that it demands to be read for its unique quality.

“Did it matter then, she asked herself, walking towards Bond Street, did it matter that she must inevitably cease completely? All this must go on without her; did she resent it; or did it not become consoling to believe that death ended absolutely?”

Let me know what you think in the comments.

Next Book Review: In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters

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4 thoughts on “Book Review: Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf

  1. 2unpublishedgirls says:

    Great review. The book cover also caught my eye and your review has made me interested in the book. So, thanks. I’m always on the lookout for good books. -RB

  2. Pingback: The guilty pleasures of domesticity | The Drugstore Notebook

  3. Ariel Price says:

    Mrs. Dalloway is another one of my favorites. Woolf is absolutely brilliant. I also highly suggest The Lighthouse. It’s also a tough one to get through, but so worth it.

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