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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