Book Reviews

Notes from Underground by Fyodor Dostoevsky

     A nameless narrator tells us about his life. “I am a sick man… I am a spiteful man. An unattractive man. I think that my liver hurts.” As he continues we find that he is cynical and bitter. Today he might be diagnosed as bipolar. In the first part of the novel we find out the narrator’s views of himself and the world. The second part of the novel consists of “notes” from the narrator that describe certain events of his life. Throughout his tales there are times you may feel draw to him or feel sorry for him, but then he’ll do or say something mean or spiteful (as he himself claims to be) and all pity washes away for a bit.

The entire novel is one big contradiction. The narrator himself is a giant paradox. He claims to feel superior to everyone, and sometimes even acts the part, but most often we can see that he feels largely inferior to everyone around him… and he hates everyone for it. He despises himself, but punishes everyone else for his shortcomings. He speaks certainly that he is writing only for himself and that no one will ever read his notes, yet he constantly addresses the readers directly. I think there have been many interpretations of this novel, and all will have a hint of truth to them. I believe that what you pull away from this novel will depend on the type of person you are, and where you are in your own life.  You may see pieces of yourself in the man from underground. You will definitely see things in him you hope to never see in yourself. But I think everyone will come away with something different, and everyone should read this one… at least once.

1) Overall Plot = 4
2) Characters = 4
3) Flow/Pace of the story = 4
4) Is the story easy to follow? = 4
5) Overall Enjoyability = 4.5

Average score of  4.1

Overall grade = B

You can buy the book here:  Amazon | B&N

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