My book club chose to read The Awakening by Kate Chopin in November. I have a rather lengthy list of books that I feel I ought to have read in college but didn't. This novella was near the top of that list, particularly since it is touted as such a groundbreaking example of feminist literature. I hated it! Edna Pontellier is married to a successful turn-of-the-century businessman and is the mother of two young sons. While vacationing at a luxurious seaside resort one summer, she finds her life unbearable and begins an affair with a young man named Robert. First, I found Edna to be an incredibly unsympathetic character. Even though she has minimal talent she abandons all of her responsibilities (including motherhood) in order to paint. Even though she loathes the idea of being owned by a man she immediately replaces her indulgent husband with an unsuitable cad. Next, I disliked the pace of the narrative because events are laboriously foreshadowed before they occur. To be sure, there are many beautifully descriptive passages but the plot moves so slowly that I found my attention waning on more than one occasion. Finally, I could not have been more disappointed in the resolution. When Robert ultimately rejects her, Edna decides that she cannot live without him. This is groundbreaking feminist literature? I suppose that this story achieved a sort of notoriety at the time of publication because of the salacious nature of the affair (which seems pretty tame by today's standards) but I found very little to recommend it.