2 stars - finished it, but would have rather done something else
1921 Pulitzer Prize
OK, OK, I know what you're thinking "2 stars! How could you? This is a classic!"
To which I reply, phffft, not for me, thank you very much. What a train wreck. I was unable to develop any sympathy for either of the main characters, Newland Archer or Ellen Olenski. Ah yes, love unfulfilled. Sad. So much lost time, so much wasted energy, but get over it already. Sheesh.
As a lesson in the morals and manners of upper crust society in the late 19th century, yes, good book, but now that I have finally read it, surely there are better novels to foist on hapless teenagers during high school English.
The only character for which I felt compassion was May Archer, who managed to maintain a stiff upper lip despite her husband's roving eyes. I wish that Ms. Wharton had developed that character more because despite her outward appearances of being a naively faithful spouse, I am sure there was a strong woman.
Even the writing style didn't sustain me.
I had originally considered supplementing this with a quick watch of the movie version, but after reading this review on Netflix "Pretty to look at, and just as distracting, but so is a screensaver. Notable for Winona Ryder opening her eyes wider than a giant squid for two hours and getting an Oscar nod for it" well.... I saw the writing on the wall for that one.