Thursday, June 12, 2014

Sideboob Reading Challenge: The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough

I'll apologize in advance if this post reads incoherently. I've recently returned from a brief vacation in Sicily (blog post coming), and I'm still a bit lagged. The long-ass flights to and from the island gave me ample opportunity to knock off a few books, and I finished four on the trip. The fifth is a Pulitzer book I'm reading for another book list, but I made sure to choose one of my Sideboob TBRs for this.

Now, you might be thinking why I chose The Thorn Birds, because compared to literary classics like Lace and The Hollywood Wives, the sideboob factor probably doesn't rank that high. In truth, I knew little about the book going in, other than it spawned a super-popular miniseries known for PRIEST SEX. I must confess, priest sex is a deal breaker for me. I'm not the most observant Catholic in the world, but you can take the girl out of the Vatican...yada yada. Everybody has a squick, and I guess horizontal priests are mine. Nonetheless, people have sworn by this book, and the movie may lack in sideboob, but I read it anyway.

If you haven't read it, The Thorn Birds is not what I would consider a racy novel at the level of Lace and Jackie Collins. This is a saga that spans more than half a century and focuses on the large, mainly Catholic Cleary family of New Zealand and Australia. It starts around WWI era and stretches into the mid 60s.

For the tl;dr crowd: the family is invited to live on Rich Aunt's land with the promise of inheriting it on her death, but Rich Aunt is infatuated with Father Ralph and instead leaves it all to the Church under his supervision. Family gets to stay on land rent free with nice stipends, though. Little Meggie grows up crushing on Father Ralph for years, they shag (about a handful of times over the span of a few decades) but in the end he chooses the Church. She has his baby, passes it off as her estranged husband's, and the boy becomes - surprise - a priest. Young Dane apparently resembles Father Ralph well that many people can see it from space, except the actual father. Father Ralph, it seems, is not good at counting back nine months, because he doesn't get it until it's revealed to him.

Personally, I might have enjoyed this more had the first part - Meggie's youth in New Zealand - been lopped off. The story for me didn't pick up until everybody moved to Australia. Of course, being a saga, I suppose you need length, and this story doesn't lack it. I'm tempted now to find the miniseries to see how it compares.

So, that's another one for the Sideboob Challenge down. Next up, The Lonely Lady.

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