Book Review · Reading

#SummerReadingProgram Book 2: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? by Edward Albee

Rating: Four out of five stars

273200I borrowed this book from a friend naively thinking it to be a play about Virginia Woolf. Wow, was I wrong. At the beginning of my reading experience, all I could think of was the first note I wrote down: “242 pages of an older couple arguing about their dirty laundry in front of the younger couple.” However, I found myself intrigued by this play as it continued on. The premise is two married couples engaging in masked dialogue at an after-party past 2am. The three-act dialogue becomes a commentary on marriage, as one couple has been married for years – versus their newlywed visitors.

Multiple themes are at work: age, gender, experience, abuse, lies, interests, dominance, insecurity…there’s a lot to take in. Two interpretations can be made by the end – the one where everything is true and the one where everything is false. What is true, and what is false? This is true for my review. Do I give it three stars for making me uncomfortable, or five stars for making me uncomfortable? I’ll compromise with four.

Favorite quotes:

“For the mind’s blind eye, the heart’s ease, and the liver’s craw.” – A toast, p. 24

“When people can’t abide things as they are, when they can’t abide the present, they do one of two things […] either they turn to a contemplation of the past […] or they set about to…alter the future.” – p. 178

At the end of the day, plays are better off being seen rather than read. While reading this play, I could imagine two polar scenarios: the first being a performance with great actors that would blow me away; the second being a performance of mediocrity. For a play like this, the quality would depend on who is performing.

I recommend this book to those who have seen the play first and intend to analyze the play further on a line-by-line basis. I wish I had seen the play before reading the script.

Picture from Goodreads
Review also on Goodreads

 

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