Before I left for a quick family trip, I finally finished Those Who Love by Irving Stone, a novelization of the John and Abigail Adams relationship. As I wrote in my first post two months ago, it was nice to recognize the impact the revolution and war must have had on the personal lives of men and women trying to get by. However, overall it was a dull book written in a dull way.
How could a story of the American Revolution possibly be dull? I feel almost guilty admitting that about Those Who Love. Let’s start with the title. This is the first place that Irving Stone went wrong. True, it’s a novel about the relationship between two individuals who obviously love each other. However, the interest in their story is not that they love each other but that they support and grow because of their relationship, a relationship that first and foremost was a friendship. The title suggests a romance, and I think Stone misses the boat if he thinks the romance side of their story is that interesting.
Then, as I mentioned in my first post, the novel brings the mundane aspects of Revolutionary America to life. The downside of that, of course, is that the things happening are somewhat mundane. For six hundred pages. It seems the author does not want to omit any of the details, so at a certain point, it gets rather boring. I hate saying that! It is important to learn the little details of how things happened! But it got so dull.
I’m sure Abigail Adams’ life was dull as she kept the farm and raised children by herself during wartime. In that sense, it is an important novelization. But I suppose there is a reason this is not one of Irving Stone’s best-known historical novels.