Mini Review: Outlander

Outlander (Outlander, #1)Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Whenever I read history, or historical fiction I sorta feel like a time traveler. So, I would like to dedicate this review to myself 10 years ago. I wish I had a time machine to go back and tell you to read this book.

Outlander actually came out in 1991, when you were (we were) 9 years old. I highly doubt my 9 year old self would have enjoyed it. Too much romance! Ick. But at the age of 21 I absolutely know you would loved it. (Even more than I did. You would have given it 4 stars, maybe even 5.)

I’d probably still have to convince you to read such a thick book, but you see its divided into smaller ‘books’, each one is intriguing, powerful, intense and passionate. From Clare’s arrival in the Highlands, her wedding, the witch trails, and the prison break! (to highlight a few). 18th century Scotland was not so dull.

You’d also fall for Jamie Fraser. O yes, you would enjoy him. Clare’s strength throughout all her ordeals would inspire you. But if I’m going to be honest with myself, mostly I think you’d like this book because of Jamie, Jamie, Jamie.

I know you basically only read fantasy books, back then, and not historical fiction, but this one involves time traveling. It gives the book a different perspective, perhaps it acknowledges that the reader is also a time traveler.

I also really think you should read it before you travel to Scotland. I think you may have missed out. You would appreciate the Highlands more having read about Clare’s journey, knowing how the people lived there, how the land was so brutal and the people had to be so strong to survive.

Although, I wonder what you would think about Clare’s punishment. Would that scene make you stop reading, like it almost did to me? I didn’t though, because Clare made it clear to Jamie he would never do that again. I understand why Jamie felt he had to punish her. Clare put herself and Jamie in danger by disobeying him and sneaking away from the clearing. The book makes it clear. But I wasn’t reading this book to understand 18th century ideas of abuse, physical punishment and consequences. This was pure pleasure reading for me and did I really want to fantasize about a man who would beat his wife? So, I wonder if you would worry about that, or maybe you wouldn’t take the book so seriously. It is just a story, you’d tell me.

When I discovered Outlander, I couldn’t believe I didn’t know about it sooner. Why didn’t I know about this? There are seven books in this series.  (The 8th one comes out in March, 2014. The series list is here on Gabaldon’s website: www.dianagabaldon.com/books/outlander-series/ ) Every now and then this happens to me. I discovered Harry Potter a few weeks before book 4 came out. I didn’t know about Scott Pilgrim until the movie was announced. Most of the time when I learn about a movie based on a book, my first response is, I want to read the book. Right now. Before the movie comes out. I’m always behind.

This is why I could use a time machine: to have more time to read. Or perhaps I don’t want one. Perhaps I discover these books at the moment when I’m ready to read them. And I don’t have to impatiently wait for the next one to come out.

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