Have you ever been intimidated by a really long book? How about tackling one of the longest novels ever written? If your knees are shaking even at the thought of such a mammoth, you are in the right place. Today we shall talk about Clarissa. Samuel Richardson’s epic story of love and betrayal is pushing a million words, and I would perhaps never have had enough courage to read it. The premise seems very interesting, focusing on a girl whose family’s main goal is to prosper financially and to become aristocrats. In a desperate attempt to live life the way she wants, she elopes with a rich, but dangerous man. His facade of charm is soon dropped to reveal a true monster who would stop at nothing to possess the virtuous girl, and he resorts to lies and even rape to force her to marry him.
How will I ever approach this lengthy masterpiece? Luckily for me, Terri and JoAnn are both hosting a readalong that would last the entire year. Because Clarissa is composed of a series of letters exchanged between the characters, there is a fun twist that makes it easier for scaredy-cats like myself to participate. The goal is to read each letter on the corresponding date it is addressed in the book, with the first one falling on January 10th and the last one on December 18. I drafted out a quick reading schedule and noticed that first two months are fairly easy to complete given the small number of letters written. The book becomes rather intense by March, and that’s when I am afraid I can lose my ground. Hopefully, things will go as planned and I will proudly finish 2012 with a great classic crossed off my list.