The Finish Line! Outlander Readalong Week 6

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July 23, 2012 by Heidi

Girl Crossing the Finish Line

WE’RE FINISHED!!! *Throws confetti*

Congratulations to one and all, I’m so proud of each and every one of you.  We carried this blunt force trauma weapon around for six whole weeks, read something like 650 pages, laughed, cried, and at times debated our sanity.

I want to say that even though I didn’t really like Outlander, I did have a ton of fun participating in this readalong, I’m so glad I did it, and I hope I’ll have the opportunity to do similar readalongs in the future…just hopefully with more success on the whole book-liking front.  I very much enjoyed reading everyone’s reactions every week–you all made me think about and consider things in ways that I wouldn’t have if I’d been reading for myself, so THANK YOU!  And of course, thank you to all of our lovely hosts who put this event together and constructed fantastic discussion questions each week–you all rock my kilt off.

1. Jaime has the worst case of seasickness. Do you get seasickness or motion sickness? If not, is there something else that makes your stomach a bit queasy?

I have gotten a touch of seasickness when on small boats, but I’ve been fine on ferries and anything bigger.  Usually motion sickness for me is compounded by claustrophobia.  We went to Disney World  two years ago and all of the flight simulators made me sick, especially the intense space one they had at Epcot.  I was not okay.  My father also used to be a pilot, and I remember getting sick on his small plane, but am okay on slightly bigger ones (the tiny plane that flies into my home airport is called “The Vomit Comet” for a reason).  Better than my sister who I remember having to leave the movie theater while watching Twister because it made her sick!

2. How did you handle reading the details of Jamie’s torture at the hands of Randall? Did you blame Jamie for anything that happened during the encounter with the captain? If you were Claire, how do you think you would have taken hearing about the abuse from your husband? What did you think of Claire’s method’s to get Jamie to start healing psychologically from his wounds from Randall (when she filled his room with opium and simulated another attack by the Captain)?

This is that question that I knew was coming and I kind of have been dreading it, even though I think it’s such a huge and important part of the story we have to talk about it.  I was absolutely horrified by these details–it was, quite possibly, the most disturbing thing I have ever read.  I really didn’t see it coming.  DG has glossed over so many details, and I suppose she didn’t even get that explicit in this scene, but it was still enough to be incredibly troubling.  There was nothing about this scene that annoyed me or made me angry about the participants as other scenes in this book had done, my heart broke completely for Jamie, and for Claire.  I have absolutely no idea how I would handle such a situation.  I would fall apart.  I never know how to handle people in tough situations–I kind of freeze and am completely useless, I’m so so bad at comforting people and mostly just leave them be, which Claire did do, and I think when she did it it was the right thing.  I’m unsure about her ‘therapy session’, I can see how mentally this may have given Jamie a sense of closure and release, and obviously it worked, but this is certainly not something I would have attempted in this situation.

3. This cover:

Outlander Special Edition

“history, warfare, medicine, sex, violence, spirituality, honor, betrayal, vengeance, hope and despair, relationships, the building and destruction of families and societies, time travel, moral ambiguity, swords, herbs, horses, gambling (with cards, dice, and lives), voyages of daring, journeys of both body and soul…you know the usual stuff of literature.”

Which of the above elements of Outlander were you most looking forward to? Which did you enjoy the most while reading? Which did you enjoy the least while reading? Which did you just not care about? Any of these do you which there were more of? Or less of?

Honestly, I feel like this cover makes Outlander sound a lot more epic than it turned out to be, which is part of the reason I’m so disappointed.  I was hoping there’d be more on the time travel aspect, we all know the sex made me uncomfortable (my boss tells me it’s because I’m a good Lutheran girl–we don’t talk about sex!), I appreciate that DG addressed issues of moral ambiguity, but I sometimes felt like they were one note (mostly rape), and almost too much, as if they were just jammed in there to be there, not because they were necessary to the story.  I wish there’d been more of the fighting action (or just better action), but it did do a good job with families and societies, which I enjoyed.

4. Share with us your overall thoughts on Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. Your favorite quotes, scenes, and/or your favorite words that had you searching for a dictionary. If you haven’t been marking your favorite quotes/passages, you can find Outlander quotes on Goodreads.

I think my overall thoughts are somewhat obvious by now.  I didn’t like this book, I won’t be reading the sequels–but that’s okay!  My favorite scenes are still pretty much all of Chapter 14 (the wedding chapter) and when Jamie tells Claire that he loves her.  To everyone who recommended this one to me, I’m sorry we didn’t click!  There was every indication that I would like this book.  I love time travel, Scotland, red heads, and historical fiction.

5. Are you going to continue with the series or are you done after Outlander? For those of us who are new readers of this series, any predictions? Do you think participating in the read-along helped or hindered your experience with the story? For those of you who’ve already read Outlander and books beyond, how much did you enjoy (or not enjoy) this re-read?

I will not be reading on.  I think the readalong helped as I would have DNF’ed this one without it, but also may have hindered a bit because having to analyze each week made me more critical than I may have been otherwise.  I hope my ranty pants didn’t ruin it for anyone else!  I really hope everyone else liked it more than me.

*Bonus #1* Take the Outlander QUIZ on Goodreads and tell us how you did!*

I got 14 out of 15 right–but I CALL SHENANIGANS ON THE MISSED ONE.  I missed the question asking what Claire and Jamie did on their wedding night to become more comfortable with one another.  I selected “Talked incessantly” because they did, and I think that helped them to become more comfortable than “holding hands”. HMPH!

*Bonus #2* Claire is able to visit the library at The Abbey. Share with us pictures or a description of your own personal drawing of your dream library. Feel free to share more than one. Some of you may even have a Pinterest board full of inspiration, please share!

Meh…see Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.  Honestly I just want a library with one of those slide ladders.  Yup.

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12 comments »

  1. I adore you, Heidi. I love that even though you didn’t click with Outlander, you were a good sport. You didn’t have to keep pushing on, but you did because you enjoyed hanging out with the rest of us. I’m not sure I’m THAT GOOD of a sport. So you kind of rock my socks. Hats off to you!

    It’s totally okay that you didn’t like this one. I loved it, I didn’t love all the parts of it, but I really did like it. I don’t know that I will love the entire series unless it is about Claire and Jamie. If they start breezing away from their romance, and if they don’t start interjecting some action, I will become bored with it. I have all ideas it will be sort of Game of Thrones-y (with more plots and characters than I can keep up with) but I DO eventually plan to try and read book two. Just not now. Maybe not in 2012. Probably more like early 2013.

    I’m happy with the final ending of the book, but it was tough getting there. REALLY TOUGH. I think they did discuss a little bit of the morality issue in the ending, in terms of the marriage, although I’m not sure it was really where my head is with 100% of it. At any rate, I’m so happy that you participated in this readalong – I love readalongs, be they formal or informal – and it was lovely with you on the ride!

    I’m so proud of you for sticking with it!! You are awesome. And your perspective, particularly not loving on the story, was really valuable to me. I like to see ALL SIDES of everything when I can. So thank you so much. :)

  2. I got that question wrong too THEY TOTALLY TALKED INCESSANTLY!!! I feel like the “almost getting raped” situations through the book would have made sense to show the reader the difference in time but DG could have put one in there and I would have understood. It got to be too much when it KEPT HAPPENING. Then Claire keeps being rescued, and to give her a little credit she rescues herself a little so I was like okay, whew AND THEN JAMIE GETS RAPED!! You know my opinion of the book as a whole so this part just really got to me, I almost couldn’t go on.

    I also know that had I read this as a little throwaway novel over the summer without having to think critically I would have rated it differently and probably higher. I don’t think this is a bad thing and I really enjoyed the read-along but I know I had my English major feminist hat on and that really made me see things from a different POV.

    I also was all “see beauty and the beast” re: the library question, though my answer was a little different ;]

    I’m sorry you didn’t like this one but I am still happy we made it through!! Also, I will remember to never have hysterics in front of you, and I thought I was the one who is dead inside!! :D

  3. I’m with you guys on that question – “I got that question wrong too THEY TOTALLY TALKED INCESSANTLY!!!” – What ya’ll said. I call foul on that one.

    I am sorry you didn’t like the book but I applaud you for finishing it. We can’t all like the same things and that is OK. That is what makes us all unique as people and as readers. I have had this problem a lot lately with YA contemp books. I don’t handle angsty books well.

    Thanks for your participation and for your honesty!

  4. Book Nympho says:

    I agree with you on most counts. I didn’t really like it that much but I’m glad I finally read it and the readalong really helped with that. And I got the same question wrong on Goodreads! I think they weren’t reading close enough!

  5. I’m sorry you didn’t really enjoy the book — but hopefully there’s another readalong out there with a book you’ll love! My copy was about 850 page and a Mass Market, so the font was tiny! It was a reread for me and I enjoyed it the second time around — not as much as the first, but it was still good.

    That’s funny that you mention the flight simulator at Epcot … I didn’t find that it made me sick at all! I was so worried going on it that I was taking deep breaths and calming myself down before it started.

    Did you know there was sex in the book before you started reading it? I think I had known before my first time, so I was prepared … But there have been books that make NO MENTION of there being any kind of gratuitous sex scenes and oh my gosh — I’ve had to put some of them down because they’re just jarring and out of place with the rest of the book! I do wish there was more than the one time traveling incident in the book — but I really loved that a lot of the book dealt with how Claire managed going back in time. I mean, everything is so different! I do hope in book 2 she learns from her mistakes and is a bit smarter.

    I got the same question wrong on the quiz and picked the same thing as you! And yes, the Beauty and the Beast library is AWESOME! I would love my library to have the need for ladders.

    I’m glad you still had fun participating! :)

  6. bookgoonie says:

    It was just heart-breaking. I didn’t know how they were going to get past it, especially when he said he couldn’t look at her or touch her. *tears* I’m so glad Geille gave her some idea of how to snap him out of it and Claire was bold enough to do it in a monastery of all places.

  7. Gone Pecan says:

    i got the same question wrong, and the same answer as you, so SHENANIGANS! anywho, i’m glad you participated because it’s good to have differing opinions and to have open communication. you can’t win ‘em all! and you’re far better than me, if i didn’t like it, i totally would have stopped reading, readalong or no. :) ~dixie

  8. Right there with you on the rolling ladders thing, Heidi:)

    Oh, Ms. Ranty Pants… Don’t fret, I think it’s ok you didn’t like this one. It’s a pretty intense read on a bunch of levels. And not that intensity in a book is bad, but I can definitely see why not everyone would adore this book. You know I had issues w/ the whole corporal punishment scene. But I also had some minor problems w/ SOME of the sex scenes. Especially the BIG one, you know, the REALLY down and dirty one. I didn’t like how Claire said “No, stop, you’re hurting me.” and it just kept on. Too me that is a little too close to the “No Means No” message we continually make clear to our children. Well, I’ve said my piece…

    I will read Bk #2, I’m curious to see what is next but the fact that this is a monster series (7 books and counting!) makes me wonder if I will be able to read all before losing interest.

    Bravo Heidi for sticking w/ it and not DNFing! And I loved doing a readalong too, I am definitely up for more in the future!

  9. VeganYANerds says:

    I think it’s great that even though you didn’t like the book, you still enjoyed the read-a-long! I don’t think this sounds like a book for me but I did enjoy reading your thoughts on it and well done you on suffering through 650+ pages!

  10. Hey, these books aren’t for everyone. Personally, I love reading through the Goodreads reviews for this book. I can see both sides. Sure I love it, but there are flaws to be sure. Lots more rape than needed, too little action, nonsensical choices, and too many red herrings to count. I don’t always feel sure I know what to be paying attention to when I read her books. If you want some entertainment, just read all the one star reviews. I love them.

    I’m glad you had fun during the read-along, and it seems like a good choice not to read further. That said, I think you’d like the next one better, because we get to the war at Culloden, and there’s a lot of fighting and less boring talky time. As Claire gets swept up in current politics, things start to perk up. So maaaaaybe we can convince you read along with us next time. ;)

  11. [...] posted my final thoughts on Outlander by Diana Gabaldon–spoilers: still hate it. I reviewed Chopsticks by Jessica Anthony and Rodrigo Corral in [...]

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