Don Quixote is totally, like, overrated

For the last few years I’ve been on this quest to read a lot of old, literary classics. Those books you hear about, and maybe read excerpts from every now and then, but that are definitely off the best-seller list. One big reason I’m doing this is to try to figure out if I actually like those books, and if I can understand why they’ve become classics.

I’ve found a lot of books I really love by doing this. For example, Homer’s “Odyssey” and “Iliad” are fantastic (true works of a genius storyteller), I love Voltaire’s “Candide” (it’s seriously laugh out loud funny), “Arabian Nights” is great, Dante’s “Divine Comedy” is good but not one of my faves, Dumas’ “The Count of Monte Cristo” is fantastic (it’s the best revenge-story ever imo), the story of Gilgamesh is great, Snorri’s “Edda” is very entertaining, and Choderlos de Laclos’ “Dangerous Liaisons” is well-worth reading.

Right now I’m reading “The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha”, AKA “Don Quixote”, by Miguel de Cervantes. (I find it somehow ironic that I’m reading it on my Kindle. What would Cervantes make of that?) And I will admit right up front that I’m struggling with this one.

It’s good in parts, but overall I am so totally “meh” on it. I just don’t like anyone in this story. Don Quixote seems insanely annoying, dangerous to himself and others, and just plain nuts (and not really in an entertaining way). Horrible things happen to him all the time, and he is so delusional that I do pity him to some extent, but I just don’t really feel for him at all. And Sancho is just a sad, awkward sidekick that I don’t like or feel for either.

I don’t find the story funny or touching or moving or exciting. Still, for some reason I’m still reading it. I guess I just want to see how Cervantes wraps it all up. I know the story is supposed to have inspired a great many people ever since, but I really don’t see it. I just don’t. It’s all just sad and sort of pathetic, which yes, is probably part of the point, but … no. Maybe it’s better in Spanish?

This post was originally posted at my personal blog: Kids. Food. Life.

4 Comments

  1. So I realize your blog post is two years old but I found I am at this moment (August, 2015) trying to slog my way through Don Quixote. And although I think I am fonder of the characters than you might have been. ( i actually sympathize with Quixote and worry about him and what he might do to others, and I can’t tell if Pancho is smarter than he lets on. The side characters annoy me because instead of worrying about Quixote they seem to derive amusement from him–An early form of reality TV??)

    Anyway, I am struggling at one of the points where Cervantes basically starts telling an entirely differently tale for pages and pages..(the story of “the captive” right now)

    Was wondering if you finished the book and if you felt it worthwhile?

    Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I did finish it, but I didn’t really think it was worthwhile. It’s one of the few classics I’ve “put my teeth into” that has disappointed me. I agree with your assessment of the side characters and the different tales added to the original tale… it makes it a tough read to get into. Sometimes tough reads are ultimately rewarding, but this time I didn’t think so! Thanks so much for reading and commenting! 🙂

      Like

  2. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, even Philistines like yourself. Don Quixote is an amazing book.

    Like

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