The Scarlet Letter ★☆☆☆☆

scarletletter (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: The Scarlet Letter
Series: ———-
Author: Nathaniel Hawthorne
Rating: 1 of 5 Stars
Genre: Classic
Pages: 272
Format: Paperback Edition



Hester Prynne, a widow whose husband is presumed lost at sea, is arrested for adultery when she becomes pregnant. She refuses to name the father and has to stay in a jail until she gives birth. Once she is freed, she is forced to wear a scarlet “A” on her clothing. Hester raises her little daughter Pearl on her own and lives in the outskirts of the village. She sews for her living and does good deeds to both rich and poor. Pearl grows up wild and untamed.

At the same time, an Arthur Dimmesdale, a preacher, is rising up in the ranks of the village. He is overcome by a sickness and an itinerant medicine man stays to help him get better. Turns out the medicine man is Hester’s husband, an old sour man who vows he will find out who Hester committed adultery with and destroy that man. Taking care of the minister gives him the excuse to live in the village. Hester agrees to keep Roger Chillingworth’s secret for her own reasons.

Years go by and Reverend Dimmesdale is getting worse. Roger has figured out it was Dimmesdale who committed the sin with Hester and has been slowly destroying his spirit. Dimmesdale meets Hester in the words and they agree to flee the village and start life together back in the Old World. They are going to escape, with Pearl, on a ship after the new governor is sworn in. Roger discovers their plans and orders a berth on the same ship and lets Hester and Dimmesdale know. Dimmesdale gives a sermon and then confesses his sin and acknowledges his lust for Hester and that Pearl is his daughter. He then dies.

Hester and Pearl sail off and many decades later Hester returns to continue her life of good deeds until she dies.


My Thoughts:

My goodness, Hawthorne really hated the Puritans and anything that actually had some moral backbone. Ok, got that out of my system.

This book starts out with some piece of garbage fictional “recollection” from Hawthorne’s working experience (where he had to work a whole 3.5hrs a day, the horror!) which is where he “discovers” the story of the Scarlet Letter. It was boring and rambling and had no impact beyond allowing the author to write long and complicated sentences while still saying nothing.

I don’t know the correct term, but Hawthorne definitely appears to be a Utopian Romanticist. Basically, if it feels good, it is “Good” by definition and therefore the right thing. There are several references to Hester and Arthur’s adultery actually being something from Heaven as their love sanctified their sin. This kind of absolute trash talk is why I didn’t finish the Monstrumologist series. There is nothing holy or sanctified about adultery or other sins. So that was a huge strike against this book.

Then the writing style almost bored me to tears. While I can handle long descriptions from Dickens, what Hawthorne writes is simply convoluted for convoluted’s sake. It became extremely annoying and by the end of the book I was ready to toss this paperback into the garbage. If you want to follow all the permutations of sentence construction then this is the book for you. There are almost no straight lines.

Thankfully, I read this during my lunch breaks at work, so it was broken up over 2 months. If I’d had to sit down and read this in 2 days I would probably have hunted down Hawthorne’s grave, dug him up and urinated all over his corpse. The opposite of Holy Water, as it were.

Needless to say, I won’t be reading anything else by Hawthorne ever again. What a wanker.



bookstooge (Custom)


35 thoughts on “The Scarlet Letter ★☆☆☆☆

  1. I’ve heard so many good things about this book about how it’s THE classic. I don’t think I’m going to read it though. From what you’ve written, it seems to be incredibly dry.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That was just the worst thing I could think of doing. Not that he would care at this point 😀

      There’s a whole boatload of classics that I consider utter trash because of their underlying philosophies. Doesn’t mean I won’t read them, but I’ll definitely refuse to consider them good.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I remember reading this early in college. I don’t remember much about it though. 😂 Sorry it turned out to be a flop, but I loved your review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you. I was really glad I was able to deal with this in small bits. I don’t know what I would have thought of it back in college. Probably been even more disgusted than I am now 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    1. 😀 I hadn’t thought of it that way but now that you mention it, it IS incredible isn’t it? I’m not sure if that means craftsmanship of the highest order was involved, or if he was just really that boring.


  3. I do want to read this at some point but I’m under no illusion that I’m going to like it. He seems to have had a happy marriage and was admired and respected by peers so I’m not sure what’s up with his writing. I must admit there aren’t many American novelists that I enjoy. I’m going to tackle Moby Dick in the summer so we’ll see Melville can change my mind …..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Moby Dick, hahahahhaaa. One of the few classics I HAVE given up on. I hate national geographic books.

      As for Hawthorne, considering his “socialism will solve the worlds problems” mindset, I’m not surprised I hated Scarlet Letter. That and his unabashed Puritan bashing.


  4. I must say, after reading the Manga based of of this I had some kindled hopes that the physical should be something I could have a look into… Thank you for letting me know it is a waste of time.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I did not like this one either… Well, i mean the parts i’ve read. I gave up pretty early on, because it bored me to death.
    At one point i wasn’t even sure if the book has started already, or we are just in the “introduction” thing. So it was a big nope for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ha ha ha! 😀 Fantastic review! “what a wanker” had me in stitches. 😀
    I remember reading this in college and just hating every minute I spent with it. I’m sure teachers pick really awful books for their students out of some sort of suppressed sadism. Like, they’ve dedicated their lives to inspiring and educating others, but negative feelings still build up and … BAM! … you’ve all got to read D.H. Lawrence and Nathaniel Hawthorne!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The thing is, I LOVE Dickens and would gladly shove him down other peoples’ throats all day long and I personally know some people who would rather peel their eyes with potato peelers than read Dickens. But yeah, teachers should try to get some decent reading in their classes.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Wow! The subtle nuances of your review left me wondering how you really feel about Hawthorne.

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!! I have always despised Hawthorne and his intentional defamation of the Puritan character. He’s like Thomas Hardy, in that, they think they know better than God.

    But as we know: Proverbs 14:12

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When I put my mind to it, I can be a real smooth talker 🙂
      I just don’t have the emotional energy to waste on authors who are blatantly hating on something while disguising it and expecting everyone to play along with them. It’s childish. Even more so than my stated action 😀


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