I have often thought about what exactly love means to me. It was never quite clear to me, what it “exactly” meant. (even now it is not quite clear to me, but I like to think that it is clearer than what it was sometime back). But maybe it was because it is not ‘exact’. As in, you cannot say definitely that this is what love is. The closest I come to defining love from my perspective is: The acceptance that you love a particular person. This is the definition of love for me. Which again, is weird because the definition itself has the word which I set to define, in the first place.
But yes, I do stand by that definition. Love has rarely got to do with what the opposite person does. In an ideal world. Pure love would mean that. But then, I think: what if the person I love hurts me. Emotionally, physically even. And not once, but repeatedly. Do I still continue to love him/her. And the answer is a definitive NO. So, maybe, when it comes to the real and practical world, the definition of love is not as simple as an acceptance. If I were to consider the manifestations of love, it would mean being there for each other, companionship and care. If these are fulfilled, then the love is there. But the very fact that love has pre-requisites makes it seem so…shallow! Ah well, maybe I have after all not made any progress in understanding what love means to me.
Hence, I will continue to writing about the book. Which incidentally is about love!!
This is one of those books I desperately wanted to like. Mainly because I really do trust the reviews of people who recommended me this book. And many did so! I really did have high hopes from the book, especially after I read the first few pages. I loved the way words are used, and the choice of words. It almost feels as if you are reading poetry. But then, having a good command over the language is expected I guess, considering the writer won a nobel prize in literature and all that! I loved that the writing style is very much in sync with the backdrop against which the story is set. Very un-assuming, laid back and yet, somehow taut way of story telling.
But, I somehow could not understand the two protagonists. Florentino and Fermina. I do think that there is reason behind our every action and our every thought. Even in case of love, there is reason why we love certain people, and not everyone. And in the case of these two, I failed to find that reason. Maybe the writer was concentrating more on their love than on the reasons. But somehow, I felt this was the case with many actions of the protagonists. I just did not understand why they do what they do. And maybe because of this, I found it hard to identify with the characters or parts of their character. During the course of reading the book, there were parts (which did not involve the protagonists) when I was totally charmed by the descriptive style, but then I used to be woken from my charmed state by something unreasonable that left me saying “why?!!”. Hence, all through the book, I could not come to the conclusion whether I liked the book or not.
Another reason for not wholeheartedly liking the book was Florentino’s character. There were times when I pitied him and there were times when I was totally repulsed by his actions. (especially the way he treated the girl who was put under his guardianship). The way he treated her was definitely not love. And for a person “so full of love” I would have liked to see at least some basic compassion towards the little girl.
I was thinking about whether it is possible to like a book if one cannot identify with the characters. And at least at this point I don’t think that is possible for me. I need to identify with some traits (if not all) in the characters, to hold on to, in order to make sense of the happenings in the book. Will I recommend it? Sure! It is worth reading for the writing style and the feel of it.