Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

I was seriously prejudiced when starting this book. Like many other of my reads I finally read Outlander because I kept hearing people rave about it on Tumblr and so forth. I opened the book and read the first sentence of the brief summary:

Claire Randall is leading a double life. She has a husband in one century, and a lover in another.”

*slammed book shut*

“Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire.”

This suspiciously sounds like one of those books your aunt gets caught reading from the book stash hidden under her bed. Plus I hate infidelity…I don’t care if your husband and your lover will never meet because while with one the other wasn’t born yet, or with the other your lovers been dead 200 years. Pfft. How convenient.

Details, Please

So in 1945 while on her second honeymoon, former nurse Claire Randall ends up touching some random boulder in an ancient stone circle while out collecting plants and –Bamf- gets transported to 1743 Scotland. Freaked out and landing in possibly the worst place ever she ends up between a feud with Scots and the English. Now she constantly has to defend herself because everyone who’s anyone thinks she’s a spy or a witch. She meets Jamie Fraser a younger Scots warrior and complications arise. What’s a time traveling girl to do? Stay with her younger warrior or return to her husband in the 20th century…

So what? *Slight spoiler warning*

I heard it’s difficult to classify this book because its historical fiction, fantasy and even science-fiction, but you know what? It’s basically an angsty romance. I guess you could call it a fantasy…the Loch Ness Monster makes an appearance. But Gosh, I got over my initial prejudice about this book, because I was curious and I heard the first chapter on audiobook while packing. It was interesting. I mean the one scene that made me curious is when Claire’s first husband sees a Scotsman ghost staring at her from outside her window. I kept reading. Here’s the thing: It’s brutal.

I did not take pleasure in worrying about whether someone was going to get flogged, raped or assaulted at every corner. I felt like I was peering through sadistic windows, becoming an unwilling voyeur. I had to take a break half way through and read Harry Potter fanfiction. Dude, that’s how upset I was.

I felt bad for her first husband probably going out of his mind looking for her. I felt like the author was trying to justify Claire not going back to her husband because her first husband’s six-time-great grandfather is the villain of this book. Plus, some of the sentences just made me laugh:

“I was now shut in the room of a rural inn, awaiting a completely different husband, whom I scarcely knew, with firm orders to consummate a forced marriage, at risk of my life and liberty.”

I had a legit reason to marry another man in a different century! Pfft. Please.

Overall

Read it, just so you can say you read the book all the girls are fangirling about, but only if you don’t care about wasting your time. I just got tired of feeling uptight. The book has some controversial scenes. I mean the majority of it took place in the 18th century so of course women of today would be scandalized by some scenes. I don’t know what to think of them except I didn’t like reading about someone getting beaten within an inch of her life, and it being acceptable at the time.The ending was happy, but it wasn’t worth the crap I had to trudge through to get there.

I can’t go any further. I’m emotionally spent. I hear someone gets sold into slavery in the next book? No thanks. I’m not coming back to this world. I’m touching the stones at Craigh na Dun and I’m going back home.

To be fair, here’s a GoodReads link so you can find some positive reviews of this book if still interested.

15 comments

  1. I read this book when it was published over 10 years ago, and if memory serves, I read a sequel or two as well. I remember enjoying the book, especially the “past” parts. I think I may have skimmed through the “present” scenes to get to Claire in the Scottish highlands. Despite your personal feelings on the matters of “infidelity” and the dangers that surrounded characters in mid-18th century Scotland, It’s still a well-written novel. My favorite parts are when Claire must reconcile her 20th century modern-woman lifestyle to the 18th century woman–in short, she doesn’t make many concessions. She’s a modern strong female character whatever century she’s in. I recall being slightly uncomfortable when reading any sexual scenes, but then again, I was 13 when I read it. I did click on the link you provided, and those who didn’t love it, pretty much felt the same way you did–that going back in time was just giving the character permission to cheat on her husband in the “present’ time. Personally, my problem with the book, were any scenes in which her Scottish husband treats her like a second class citizen(there was a spanking scene, which was a little unnecessary, in my opinion) , which I’m pretty sure was the norms in those times (not the spanking, but the inferior treatment of women in general). But, and it’s been a long time since I read this book, I think he eventually comes around to respecting her for who she is. Despite any discomfort I may have felt reading the sex scenes, or as a feminist-did not change my overall feelings for the book–I liked it. Any way, that’s my two cents.

    1. I still love you Kristina. Lol. I can’t believe you read this when you were 13. That’s crazy! I had a hard enough time with the dialect, let alone the disturbing description of what happened to Jamie while in prison. Yes, the spanking scene was unnecessary, even worse was that he enjoyed doing it. I mean lots of people like this book, but it was just hard for me to take.

  2. I know SO MANY people who are all ga-ga over this book…and I just can’t bring myself to read it. I think I would feel as you felt about it, I really do. This is a great review – I think you did a wonderful job writing it. Even if it wasn’t a very favorable one. 🙂

    1. Thanks Julie, you made me feel better. Lol, my incurable pursuit to please leaves me conflicted sometimes. If you do decide to read it one day, I’d like to hear your thoughts 🙂

  3. Wow I’m totally convinced this is not the book for me, now. I’ve read so many books that are just so dark and people get raped and beaten and bad stuff happens…to the point that I feel pretty much desensitized. I read Anne of Green Gables or the Secret Garden right after to shake off the depressing mood. Sometimes the plot is good enough that I can read right through the depressing scenes, but it doesn’t sound like this is the case here.

    –Sharry

    1. Yeah, sometimes I get scared of getting desensitized too. I was interested enough to finish, but I was so emotionally spent when done. Lol Anne of Green Gables is such a great book to make one happy! I saw some kind of remake at Walmart I think it was called “Android of Green Gables” or something. I’ve never read Secret Garden, is it one of your favorites?

      1. LOL when I googled Android of Green Gables I got a youtube link of this band… but if that was a movie I would so watch it! And yes, I do love the Secret Garden. It’s harmlessly gothic-y and there’s a good ending. I also like the movie version!

      2. LOL. Yes, it’s Anne-droid of Green Gables. 🙂 It’s appeared in three books in the last year. CLASSIC’S MUTILATED, REQUIRED READING REMIXED (the one in Wallmart) and YEARS BEST AUSTRALIAN FANTASY AND HORROR 2010. I am the author in question. It was a lot of fun writing that remake, and being different, and but staying true to the original. If you ever read it, I hope you enjoy it. 😉

        Lezli Robyn

      3. @ Lezli Robyn, What an honor! I will definitely go out and get a copy 😀
        I really enjoy reading remakes…and Anne of Green Gables is one of my favorite books.

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