The Man Who Loved Children: A Novel Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2018-02-20 
Review Score: 3 out of 5 star From 54 user ratings

" This is clearly a kind of masterpiece. A masterpiece of a portrait of gaslighting, maybe? But it's also annoying as hell. ~5% of this book is in this familial baby talk language that FEELS just absolutely disgusting to me, but which clangs true in the way the father uses it to suffocate attention that's anywhere but on him. " said.

"This Aussie classic has been on my tbr forever! It’s Aussie in the sense that the author is Australian but the book is actually set in Washington & Baltimore areas. Unfortunately, not a book that enchanted my heart… a horrible marriage between 2 people unwilling to work together, to compromise as life partners. A horrific pulling to and fro of the children between the parents. I didn’t like the wife/mother as she is a weakling however at least she seems to be who she is but the husband, all charms and goodness (or so it seems) but such a child (as was pointed out a number of times in the novel, unwilling to grow) and his made up words used throughout the novel nearly killed me. I & my husband, of course, have some made up words we use with the kids when they are tiny but NOT whole sentences and a full conversation of them. I knew as well that things will NOT end well though the ending wasn’t really what I expected. My inability to enjoy this book was probably made worse as I was also listening to an audiobook where the husband killed his wife (true crime!); she was leaving him after 2 decades of marriage to escape his controlling & rather violent nature. I say ‘NO’ to domestic violence!" said.

" brill book. felt like i was watching a film in my mind. u can almost smell that marlin oil near the shocking ending. nice twist. " said.

"This was unbearable. The story of the most miserable marriage ever. I hadn't read an older book in a while, and I had heard it was an amazing classic, so I gave it a try. But this was not the book for me. At first I thought it was going to be funny. Christina Stead is a wonderful wordsmith. The writing style is a little like A CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES, in which the writer delights in unusual words, building up word pictures like sand castles in torrents of phrases. But the misery just overcame me midway through. It's hard to decide whom to hate more: the vicious, selfish, spoiled wife Henny who sees the world through shit-colored glasses, abuses her children (and especially her stepdaughter) and whines constantly about her come-down in life of having married a self-made made man. Or her husband who is manipulative, inappropriately needy and whiny with his children, blathers on fatuously about the joys of life and children, and basically just does whatever he wants the whole time. Argh." said.

"Perhaps I was naive to be so shocked by this grotesque 1940s tale of chaos and family dysfunction set in D.C. Baltimore heiress Henrietta Collyer is married off to a zany, hardscrabble conservationist named Sam Pollit -- and what follows is an explosively unhappy (if high-yielding) marriage. I'll be damned if almost every page didn't made me cringe: the father's narcissism, the mother's hysteria, the sheer filth of their encroaching poverty, the childrens' constant suffering and neglect. It about wore me out.

I picked up this book after reading this review by Jonathan Franzen in the NYT. And though the plot bobbed along slowly as trash in the Anacostia, it provided time for me to think about its greatest theme: the entrapment of its women characters by incessant pregnancy, spinsterhood, poverty,and psychological torment.
" said.

"In "Anna Karenina", Tolstoj a incipit del romanzo diceva: "Tutte le famiglie felici si assomigliano fra loro, ogni famiglia infelice è infelice a modo suo" e conoscendo meglio la famiglia Pollit, si potrebbe dire che questa citazione è appropriata.
"Sabba familiare" è una saga familiare di cui Christina Stead tesse benissimo le fila, fila che riflettono più un esercizio di stile che una vera e propria trama. Ciò che colpisce è il modo in cui la scrittrice entra in questa famiglia descrivendo in modo analitico il loro vissuto, il loro modo di vivere e di essere, a cominciare dal padre, un 40enne spensierato che ama i suoi figli in modo ossessivo e quasi maniacale (da qui il titolo inglese The man who loved children) sino alla moglie che vive tutto in modo molto cupo.
Tutti i personaggi vivono in totale isolamento e immersi nella propria solitudine. Prolisso e a tratti ripetitivo, "Sabba familiare" è un romanzo di non facile lettura che non permette di empatizzare con i personaggi, che risultano freddi agli occhi del lettore.
" said.

"I am still chugging along faithfully. i am now nearly half-way through. Sam Pollit and Henny Pollit are such unlikeable characters but the book illustrates Tolstoy's claim that Happy Family are all alike but unhappy families are unhappy in their own ways. Stead's book drags you through not only and unhappy family but one might say miserable. Sam is a self-obsessed man who sees himself as a great father and lover of all fellow human beings but is so stuck inside himself that he cannot see how he mistreats and misunderstands almost everyone he comes into contact with. Henny was born to a rich Boston family but after marrying Sam and left raising the children and running the house of a man too busy living in his dreams has become a nasty, screechy, awful woman. If you have ever ran into someone who thinks that the whole world is set up as some awful farce to fuck her over you have met someone of Henny's ilk.

Will I finish this book? or will it be put in the pile with Mason and Dixon and Infinite Jest of books that have called my bluff and taunt me from my bookshelves? you ain't got the will never, ever finish us. you will die never having finished us....ha....ha...ha.
" said.

"The Man Who Loved Children has long been one of my mother's favourite books, and a well-thumbed, dog-eared copy is one of my most vivid memories from childhood. And yet, somehow, I wasn't ever quite ready to read it until recently. Perhaps now I have finally stopped believing in bogeymen and monsters hiding in cupboards, and could read with some sense of detachment. There is something in Sam Pollit, a man who drags his wife and children through the most extreme of poverty, that hits close to home, and I found the novel engrossing and compelling, without finding it the easiest of reads. In his misplaced sense of superiority, he neither notices nor cares that his children go hungry and are badly dressed, and that his wife distresses herself to meet his needs. Pushed to her limits, his wife, Henny, has become bitter and hopeless. Essentially she lacks the strength of character to weather her own poverty. Sam truly believes his children adore him because they could ask for nothing more in a father, when all the while not realising that they are simply children, and know no better. He believes that he understands them like no other, while in reality he fails to meet their basic wants and needs. And as they grow into adults, the children begin to see through his fine feathers, rebelling in the way only desperate children can. And in the end, we are left wondering if that will set them free." said.

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