Book Review: Stoner

A Life In A Book

John Williams’ Stoner (1965) is the fictional telling of William Stoner’s life. The book follows him as he begins as a simple farm boy until he goes off to college and gets an english degree. The story encompasses the time frame from WWI to a little after WWII. It’s a book filled with the ups and downs of life; it takes the reader through Stoner’s drama all the way until he dies.

Latent Living

I read this book because someone recommended it to me and to tell you the truth, I hated it. I guess the root of the problem is the protagonist of the story. He never made a decision I agreed with and he did almost nothing to deal with the repercussions of his actions. It was as if life happened to him and he just… took it. There were so many times I wanted to scream at Stoner to do something, but the actions he took were just so bland. It made me angry.

Prose

Now, just because I hated the book it doesn’t mean it’s bad. I have to say that this book is by far the best written book I have ever read. The prose is immaculate and the writing pulls the reader in until they are identifying with the protagonist. I guess this is why the book made me so angry, I saw too much of myself in the lead character. The dialogue is fantastic and the inner thoughts of the protagonist are presented in such a clear way, it made it seem that there was no barrier between the reader and the book. It was a very intimate reading experience.

Final Thoughts

I think this is a polarizing book. There are probably legions of people who love this book, but I don’t care. I didn’t like the resolution of the book. I would recommend this book for anyone who wants to marvel at high-level prose.Read it and let me know what you think.

Ezra Carias is an author. You can find out about his latest book here.

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