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One Hundred Years of Solitude: Personal review

Updated on June 29, 2015
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It must be more than thirty years ago that I first read this book. Since then, I've probably read it every year or so. In fact, if I was restricted on one book for the rest of my life, One Hundred Years of Solitude would be the one. "Really?' I can hear you say 'is it really as good as that?' Read on and decide for yourself.

Since the 1940s there has been a radio programme on the BBC on which celebrities choose the pieces of music they would take with them if they were to be stranded on an island. Unsurprisingly, this is called Desert Island Discs. (If you are a youngster, you might have to ask a parent or even grandparent what on earth a 'disc' is.)

In addition to the music, the 'castaways' are allowed to take a copy of the Bible (or other spiritual book), the Complete Works of Shakespeare and a book of their own choice. One Hundred Years of Solitude would undoubtedly be my choice.

The Shakespeare, I have to admit, would probably be used as kindling to light fires; I had enough of him when I was at school, thank you.

Cien aos de soledad (Gabriel Garcia Marquez wrote the book in Spanish) would keep me perfectly happy with its tales of comedy and tragedy, love and hate, history and progress, birth and death, plus rebellion, gypsies, ghosts, magic and, I have to say, a touch of raunchiness, as it tells the story of a family in Colombia though the generations - one hundred years, in fact.

Oh, just the story of a family? I know, it doesn't sound terribly astounding but it is.

AND I'M NOT ALONE

This book is available from Amazon (hardback, paperback and Kindle) where it has over 900 reviews. But that's just one website - it has received the highest reviews and honors and Gabriel Garcia Marquez was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in the nineteen eighties.

WHICH CREATED A PROBLEM

When Marquez wrote One Hundred Years of Solitude was he really writing about the history of Latin America? Or even the history of mankind? Possibly, but reviewers, academics and literary dignitaries have written thousands of words about the book. It's been hyped. Read it as a delightful, fascinating and magical story.

Maybe the second time you read it (or the tenth) you may see 'hidden meanings'. You might, as I did, see philosophies that explain the human condition. Or you might just enjoy the story ... again.


A SCATHING REVIEW

Because of the hype, it seems that some people think that they'll read the book and have one of those 'ah-ha!' moments when the meaning of life,the universe and everything is revealed. (And I don't mean 42).

I never had that 'ah-ha!' moment certainly, but I did realize that Marquez taught me a great deal about the human condition.

You might be different. But that's part of the fun, isn't it? Most reviewers on Amazon love the book the way I do but there are a handful of weird reviews.

I was so captivated by one such scathing review that I had to take the screenshot which you see below. If I didn't know One Hundred Years of Solitude as well as I do, I think the review below would make me want to buy it just to see what he/she was ranting about - enjoy!

WHAT A HILARIOUS REVIEW!

Have you read One Hundred Years of Solitude? Are you like me and love it? Or are you like the reviewer above who thinks it's a pile of ... what he said? Let me know in the comments below.

The other side of the coin

On the other hand, author Monica Brown explains how this book changed her life. Can a fictional novel really change lives? How would my life be different had I not read this book? An interesting speculation indeed.

Source

Gabriel Garcia Marquez

The author died on 17th April, 2014 at the age of eighty seven.

During his life he explained that many of the books he wrote were inspired by the stories his grandparents used to tell him.

I imagine these were a mixture of folk tales, remembered incidents and family stories.

Many will have been passed down through the generations and the centuries.

We are fortunate indeed that the author catalogued these adding the fruits of his own imagination to what must have been localised, traditional tales.

© 2013 Jackie Jackson

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    • profile image

      Johng868 3 years ago

      Hello! This post could not be written any better! Reading through this post reminds me of my good eagkaedceebk

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Elsie Hagley: I think it's due for a huge revival too. The author, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, died yesterday aged eighty seven. This is bound to bring a surge in popularity, I think.

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 3 years ago from New Zealand

      Great review, looks like a very exciting book by the comments, a must read . Thanks.

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Jacolive: That's exactly what I did too. Absolutely brilliant book.

    • Jacolive profile image

      Jacolive 3 years ago

      When I finished this book the first time I went straight back to the first page and started again. One of the most entertaining books I've ever read.

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @ameergreen: It's fabulous isn't it?

    • ameergreen profile image

      ameergreen 3 years ago

      I read this book 3 times, and it's one of the best books I've ever read...

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @sybil watson: That's wonderful. I'm sure that you'll enjoy it.

    • profile image

      sybil watson 3 years ago

      Well, you know what they say about opinions...I've never heard anyone say anything negative about the book, and now I'm really intrigued. I started it in college but was so overwhelmed with my assigned reading that I didn't finish it, but I'm adding it to my ever-expanding reading list.

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Erin Mellor: I think you hit the nail on the head there,Erin. Bonkers and brilliant!

    • Erin Mellor profile image

      Erin Mellor 4 years ago from Europe

      I'm in the middle of this book at the moment, I can't decide if it's completely brilliant or absolutely bonkers. I suspect a bit of both, but I already feel like I'll need to go back and read it again someday to see it in a new light.

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Scarlettohairy: Thanks for visiting. It really is a great book.

    • AcornOakForest profile image

      Monica Lobenstein 4 years ago from Western Wisconsin

      Love love love this book! I fell in love with magic realism because of Marquez and read a lot of this style of novel all through graduate school. Great review!

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @AcornOakForest: Thank you - it's lovely to meet another fan.

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 4 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      Thanks for your great review. I've heard good things about this book.

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Mickie Gee: You are a girl after my own heart :) I too recommend this book if ever anyone asks me. Thanks so much for commenting.

    • Mickie Gee profile image

      Mickie Goad 4 years ago

      One Hundred Years of Solitude is absolutely one of my very favorite books. It is the one I recommend when someone asks me for the title of a good book to read. I got over criticizing novels when I graduated from college. Now I read for enjoyment, pure enjoyment. A book must be well-written, however. Cannot tolerate poor writing.

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @SBPI Inc: Thank you so much, Jonathan. When I read reviews like that, I do wonder what the 'writer's' motives were.

    • SBPI Inc profile image

      SBPI Inc 4 years ago

      People, people,people. Guess that review really proves that some incredibly mean and ugly spirited 'people' do exist and enjoy trashing others. Can't help but wonder just what it is that has influenced the reader/reviewer to the extent where such comments were needed, perhaps fear. Sad.Anyway, follow your heart, great lens and ignore the foolhardiness of others, just let it go.Jonathan

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @KateFeredayEshete: Thank you for visiting. I do hope you enjoy it.I'll think about you reading it in Ethiopia.

    • KateFeredayEshete profile image

      Kate Fereday Eshete 4 years ago from Ethiopia

      I have to admit that I've had this book for three years and hadn't got round to reading it. But that "scathing review" you included has done the trick - I'll find and start reading the book right away! Thanks for a great lens.

    • David Stone1 profile image

      David Stone 4 years ago from New York City

      One man's ceiling is another man's floor. Hard to imagine the thickheadedness of anyone who'd write some meanly about another's work, an achievement the reviewer could never hope to accomplish himself.

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Susan Zutautas: Thank you Susan!

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Nancy Hardin: Hi NancyCarol, it's a terrible review, isn't it? I rather suspect that it was his girlfriend who lent him the book and she broke up with him when he was halfway through reading it :)

    • Nancy Hardin profile image

      Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 4 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      I have not read One Hundred Years of Solitude, but I admit I'm now curious because of the unkind review. Wow! I've never seen a review that bad other than in a newspaper column. Maybe I'll investigate this book.

    • Susan Zutautas profile image

      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Sounds like a book I'd myself enjoy. It's going on my list. Thanks for a great review.