[Review] A Room with A View - E.M. Forster

Title of Book:
A Room with A View
Author: E.M. Forster
Publisher: Penguin Books
Publication Year: 2012 (first published 1908)
Language: English
Format: paperback
Pages: 237

"But you do," he went on, not waiting for contradiction. "You love the boy body and soul, plainly, directly, as he loves you, and no other word expresses it ..."
Lucy has her rigid, middle-class life mapped out for her until she visits Florence with her uptight cousin Charlotte, and finds her neatly ordered existence thrown off balance. Her eyes are opened by the unconventional characters she meets at the Pension Bertolini: flamboyant romantic novelist Eleanor Lavish, the Cockney Signora, curious Mr Emerson and, most of all, his passionate son George.
Lucy finds herself torn between the intensity of life in Italy and the repressed morals of Edwardian England, personified in her terminally dull fiancé Cecil Vyse. Will she ever learn to follow her own heart?


A Room with A View is a novel by E. M. Forster which published in 1908. It’s been adapted into a movie in 1985 starring Helena Bonham Carter. The movie adaptation is actually the reason why I wanted to pick up this book. The movie was nominated in the 59th Academy Award’s Best Picture. Before I watch the movie, I want to read the book first. A Room with A View follows Lucy Honeychurch as she went on holiday to Italy with her cousin Charlotte. There, she met a young man named George Emerson and tangled in a short romance. Upon returning to England, Lucy was proposed by a man named Cecil Vyse. Not long after, George and his father moved to a local villa suggested by Cecil after they met in London. Reminded of her encounter with George in Italy, Lucy began to have doubts over her feelings.

At first glance, A Room with a View is a simplistic romance story, frivolous even. Honestly if it wasn't for the movie, I wouldn't have picked up this book in the first place. However, as I was reading this book I became more and more invested in Lucy. It's naive and silly considering how a kiss could be that scandalous at the time. Though this book is considered a classic, sometimes I forgot and read it like a contemporary love story I even ship Lucy and George at some point.

Still, this book is not without substances. A Room with a View is also a critique on the English society. Lucy is a girl with big dreams but she was restrained because pursuing that deemed as unladylike. Her cousin Charlotte justified that women were different from men. Rather than achieving big dreams themselves, women's mission is to inspire others. True, Charlotte is a righteous character in this book as she is also the one who insisted on keeping Lucy's improper encounter with George a secret. Yet, the interesting thing is she is also the one who secretly helped Lucy and George in the end.
Lucy's love interests come from two contrasting sides. George is the boyish and passionate one. While Cecil is the practical one. Cecil often dismissed the society custom and saw them as nuisance. When they attend a gathering after his engagement with Lucy was announced, Cecil disliked the congratulatory remarks from the neighbors as he thought engagement was supposed to be a private matter. Cecil's behavior often rub me the wrong way. He comes off as a snob to me. One time George pointed out to Lucy that she could never be intimate with Cecil since Cecil only talked about things such as books, musics, or paintings. Cecil likes to put ideas in Lucy's head instead of letting Lucy thinks for herself. Again, I think it's interesting how contradictory Cecil is since although he holds himself in high regards and sees himself as a cultured man, he's actually the one who behaves traditionally.

All in all, I didn't expect to like this book as much as I do. The only reason why it took me so long to finish this book is because of the whole work from home thing which didn't give me much time to read. After reading the book, I become more interested in watching the adaptation. A Room with A View was a delightful read.  

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