Review Eight Cousins

Selasa, 06 Desember 2011

Eight Cousins (Eight Cousins #1)

by Louisa May Alcott, Berliani M. Nugrahani (Translator)

“Aku tahan menghadapi para bibi, tapi ada puluhan sepupu, yang semuanya laki-laki, dan aku benci anak laki-laki! Bagiku, anak laki-laki adalah makhluk yang harus dijauhi karena mereka menyebalkan dan merepotkan! Oh, Tuhan, mengapa aku menjadi satu-satunya anak perempuan di keluarga ini?”

Sepeninggal ayahnya, Rose Campbell dipindahkan ke rumah kedua bibi tuanya. Menjadi anak yatim piatu di sebuah rumah tua membuat Rose kesepian dan mendambakan teman. Kehidupannya berubah ketika Paman Alec, pria yang terpilih menjadi walinya, datang membawa kesegaran baru. Sang paman berhasil menjauhkannya dari duka dan memperkenalkannya pada begitu banyak kegiatan menyenangkan.

Delapan orang sepupu laki-lakinya juga turut berperan besar. Rose, si gadis kecil pembenci anak lelaki, mau tak mau harus menerima dan belajar untuk hidup bersama mereka. Sebagai satu-satunya anak perempuan di keluarga besar mereka, Rose mempelajari banyak hal dari para sepupunya ini. Kesabaran, keberanian, kelembutan hati, dan keteguhan jiwa hanyalah beberapa di antaranya.

Bagaimanakah suka duka kehidupan Rose bersama kedelapan sepupunya? Dan, saat waktunya tiba, mampukah Rose memilih sosok yang paling disayanginya—seseorang yang akan tinggal bersamanya?

Orange Books 2011

Saya: Untuk melengkapi stok buku cerita ANAK DAN REMAJA YANG INSPIRATIF, buku ini pun kami beli. Lumayan tebal, dengan cover yang menggoda. Terbayang, bahwa kisah tentang anak-anak Amerika Eropa pasti sangat menarik, mengingat seorang gadis yang baru kehilangan ayah, akan dikelilingi oleh paman, bibi dan 8 sepupu lelaki. Wow... pasti kacau balau deh

"Rose Campbell, setelah ayahnya meninggal, dibawa ke rumah keluarga besar Campbell, dimana banyak bibi dan paman, tinggal di situ dan di sekitar situ. Hak asuhnya jatuh pada Paman Alec, sang dokter yang suka berpetualang. Penuh asosiasi, Rose akhirnya bertemu dengan seorang gadis pembantu, Phebe, yang jago bersiul."

"Archie dan Charlie bermusuhan, tidak saling bicara, dan Rose merasa berhak menjadi pendamai mereka. Dasar anak laki-laki, egonya lebih besar dari otaknya. Kesehatan Rose semakin baik, dan dia kelihatan semakin bijaksana berkat bimbingan Dr. Alec, pamannya, dan Phebe yang penuh gairah hidup"

Kristen: If you've read any Louisa May Alcott, the general ideas and characters will be familiar. The characters are all very high-minded and very concerned with morality, building character, proper behavior, etc. Being written nearly 150 years ago, some of the ideas on health, class and race relations, and gender roles are very antiquated, and can even seem a bit bigoted. But you have to remember the time in which it was written. The way they describe a Chinese man is particularly interesting.

The basic plot follows Rose, a girl of means, who is orphaned and goes to live on the "Aunt-Hill" with her many aunts, her seven boy cousins, and her devoted guardian, Uncle Alec. We see her grow, change and learn over the course of an experimental year, in which Uncle Alec has complete charge over her upbringing, with no interference from the aunts. At the end of the year, they are to decide whether it has been a success, and whether Rose should stay with Uncle Alec, or move in with one of her aunts. Does Rose have a good year? Does she stay with Uncle Alec? I'll never tell - you have to read it.

Though older books can be a bit difficult to read, due to the different language and writing styles of more than a century ago, I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and plan to read the sequel "A Rose in Bloom" as well.

Catherine: The latest book in my Louisa May Alcott kick...and I found it generally charming. I love the idea of "throwing out the window" the general practices at the time (wearing tight corsets and belts, taking strong coffees and cordials to improve health, teaching girls to act like 'ladies' instead of allowing them fresh air and exercise) and enjoyed watching young Rose become a picture of health and happiness. I also loved the idea that her uncle taught her to be a self-reliant woman (hence the emphasis on housekeeping, cooking, etc.) instead of relying on servants and maids. Some of the ideas were still a bit old-fashioned, but I didn't find it offensive and would definitely encourage my children (daughters and sons) to read this book.

Airiz: Another delightful read from Louisa May Alcott—quite a breather from all the heavy readings I’m having lately! It’s not as good as her Little Women or Little Men, but it’s equally charming. Basically it’s about the sickly little girl Rose Campbell who must live with her numerous aunts in Aunt Hill and seven boy cousins after her father died. There’s nothing much to say when it comes to the plot, it’s just a series of slices-of-life zeroing in on one bud of a girl that was slowly growing into a fully-bloomed rose. There are also vignettes that focus on family relationships, particularly emphasizing that family members can sometimes argue with one another at some point yet maintain a sense of respect for everybody.

The characters seem a tad too familiar to me, as I think they were created in the same mold as those in Little Women (in case of Rose) and Little Men (in case of the boy cousins). But I don’t have any gripes about that; I’m only aiming for a light read, and this I achieved after I read this.

Short and Sweet, Eight Cousins is a book I’ll recommend to those who love Alcott’s previous books.

Quinn: This is one of my favorite childhood reads. Rose, an orphaned and sickly child, is sent to live with her aunts after her father dies. When Uncle Alec, her guardian, returns to care for his charge, her life is turned upside-down. In a time when young girls were treated like dolls, he encouraged her to laugh, play, and explore, especially with her seven male cousins. The boys teased a sense of adventure out of Rose, and they loved and cared for her deeply. Rose responded with the same love and enthusiasm. She listened to their troubles, helped them when they were injured, and made sure they knew when they were wrong. She had them wrapped around her finger, but the love that they felt for each other seeped through the pages. Uncle Alec was also a refreshing character. He ignored traditional teaching and dressing methods, and encouraged Rose to use her mind. He was always available to the children if they needed advice or support, and he was delightfully cheeky (but loving) in his interaction with the aunts.

Janel: Eight Cousins is sort of like reading a 19th-century, morally concerned version of The Breakfast Club. Instead of the library, the action centers around a mansion known as Aunt-Hill, ancestral home of the Campbells.

The story centers around Rose, who comes to the Aunt-Hill after the death of her father and meets her new guardian, her uncle Alec. Rose is sickly and depressed in the beginning, but improves dramatically in both health and moral elevation over a year under the unorthodox care of her uncle. Her seven cousins Archie (the Good Boy), Charlie (the Bad Boy), Mac (the Bookworm), Steve (the Dandy), twins Will and Geordie, and Jamie (the Baby), along with Phebe (the Noble Foundling) provide situations in which these improvements may be displayed.

There's an odd tension in the story between the unconventional and utterly orthodox Victorian values espoused in this book. On the one hand, Uncle Alec wants Rose to be educated and teaches her math, physiology, and so on; forbids corsets and other restrictive clothes; and has her running around in an age when running was considered un-ladylike. On the other, he teaches that her place is as a wife and housekeeper, and that her function is as the moral center of the boys around her. Rose realizes towards the end of the book that the purpose of girls is to "take care of boys." Alcott also shows the evils of smoking, alcohol, and trashy books.

Additionally, and it may just be the difference of 130 years, the children don't seem very realistic. Rose is 13 1/2 at the beginning, and her oldest cousin 17. There's nothing of the awkwardnesses, tension, or rebellion of adolescence in any of the characters, excepting Charlie.

For all that, this is a good story that provides an interesting look at the aspirations of its time.

Angela: I enjoy hearing most things that Louisa May Alcott has to say. She pretty obviously slips her point of view into everything she writes, so good thing I agree with her most of the time. Very moralistic writing, but she's usually right and she writes about human issues that are more or less timeless. I enjoyed the story of Rose, but I wouldnt say its Louisa's best work because it was pretty disjointed, more like a bunch of vignettes than a cohesive line of drama. There really was no storyline. Yet as I make this point, I'm realizing that life is more like a string of vignettes than a cohesive storyline. Each day is a vignette, and we dont always have cohesive drama happening in sequence such that we have new developments every day. The gripping books and gripping movies dont generally move chronologically. They string together crucial moments that fit together into a storyline, and because these moments dont come one right after another, those gripping storylines tend to rocket back and forth in time with flashbacks and flash forewords and sometimes just omitting days, months, and years of vignettes that dont have anything to do with the storyline. So this particular book didnt have a gripping storyline, but it painted a picture of a life going at medium speed and going in order of events. It may not be the most compelling story, but it is true to the way life runs.