Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Read :: Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts

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Now I have to be honest, I didn't finish this book so this really is not a complete book review. Can I even call it a book review if I failed to finish the book? Probably not but let's just go with it. So many people recommended this book to me, in addition to that a lot of people said it was their favourite book of all time, this of course made me really excited to read this book.

Shantaram is set mainly in India and follows the journey of the main character Lindsay who has escaped from a high security Australian prison after being convicted for armed robbery. Lindsay is now trying to live a life unnoticed by authorities in India. The novel is influenced by real events in the life of the author.

I have always been intrigued with India so was looking forward to that being the setting for the story. I began reading and was immediately drawn in, the writing style completely immersed me into the main characters world. I enjoyed the honest and humble character of Prabaker and the sense of never knowing what was going to happen next.

But then I couldn't keep up with all the characters that were introduced, maybe because the names were foreign or just because there were so many characters that, I was constantly having to go back and forth to try and remember who was who. I would also forget details of the storyline due to their sheer volume. Eventually I began to feel weighed down by the details and found myself skipping chuncks of writing in an effort to just get through the book.

Six months later (yup I tried to read it for six months and only got just past half way) I gave up. I thought I would never read another book if I kept persisting with something I just wasn't enjoying. Most of the time I am loathe to give up on a book and get all determined to make it to the end even if I don't love it, but Shantaram well and truly beat me. Sometimes you just have to know when to cut your losses.

The book really does have an amazing story line and vivid details - even though I couldn't finish it I would still recommend it on the basis that some people really love that style of writing and will plough through the book easily, it is just not for everyone, including me.

Have you read Shantaram - did you love it or did it beat you too? Do you give up on books if you don't like them or do you stick with it to the end?

24 comments:

  1. This is definitely one of my favourite books of all time; I would definitely put it in my top 5. But I TOTALLY understand your point about how much of a massive task it is to get through it. And yes, there are way too many characters introduced on such a regular basis but I didn't find that too annoying because the names aren't all that foreign to me. I think you made the right call... sometimes you have to cut your losses and move on.

    The book that has troubled me for years is One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. It's utterly confusing and hard to keep track of who's who. I've given up on it so many times and it upsets me because it's meant to be such a masterpiece. Oh well, I'll attempt it again one day!

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    1. I am glad I am not the only one who has had to give up on a book before! I definitely want to finish it I just need a little break :)

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  2. I haven't read this book, but that's because I'm not a bookworm myself :(

    When I do read, though, it has to engage me and worth my time. There is a book that I could hardly get through, and one of the reasons was its small prints, and long-winded description.

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    1. Long winded descriptions get me everytime!

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  3. My friend picked this up in Nepal and loves it.. I'm not sure I could plough through such a hefty tome though.. xx

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    1. Its huge 1000 pages is just overwhelming!

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  4. I never read this book.. But I rarely give up on books.. I always think it will be better later :D

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  5. I read it once when I was at uni, turns out the step mum of my boyfriend and David wet to uni together. So I was automatically drawn in. I almost finished it. Then last year we did it forsook club, I didn't even make it half way.

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  6. I really loved this book and I understand your point about it being such a big task to get through. If you weren't feeling it then it makes sense to move on and make room for something that does. :)

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  7. This is my first time hearing about the book. If it has many characters i certainly would get lost as i have the attention span of a fly! Usually if i don't like a book i'm reading i tend to sell it off or donate it to the uni library and move on to something else

    xo Stephanie

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  9. I haven't read this before and I'm not sure if I will haha. Just because I've read a lot of books that I struggle through. I'm desperately wanting to finish Anna Karenina but I'm struggling with that one. x

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  10. bunch of losers. Attention span of a gnat. Don't comment if you haven't read it.

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  11. I hate giving up on books, I feel like the book has won and I'm too competitive to let that happen (is it normal to be competitive with inanimate objects? Haha). I've never heard of this book, but I find it interesting that so many people have put it in their top five!

    I struggled with that book you, Gracie, Alyssa and I all read as you well know. That took me MONTHS to finish! I find sometimes with big, detailed books like that you really need to have a huge block of time that you can solely dedicate to it. As soon as you get distracted you start to forget details and then it all starts to unravel.

    x Jasmine

    PS. Also, what's up with the anon comment above? Rude!

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