2016 Reading Challenge Book #8: Anna Karenina

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy -Let me preface this by saying that this book drove me mad! I hate the character of Anna, but this is written so lovely with many other fascinating characters, it's worth it. The movie---> blehhh! But it's a different animal.: The eighth book in the 2016 Reading Challenge is Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina. This is the book that I chose to read this book for the 1800-1899 book selection. In this tragic romance, we are introduced to social class and aristocracy in Imperial Russia.

Anna Karenina is from upper class wealth. However, she is in a loveless marriage leading her to embark upon an affair with a bachelor named Vronsky. As the novel goes on, Anna and Vronsky become more attached to each other. At his insistence, Anna considers leaving her husband. Yet, Anna is afraid of what could happen to her if she does so. She knows that this would bring on disgrace for her family, who would most likely ostracize her. However, her family is already broken up with her sister Kitty having fallen in love with Vronsky. This causes Kitty to fall ill out of heartache for the man that she loves. Kitty becomes more and more aware of Anna and Vronsky’s affair leading to their being more complications for the two. Things get better for Kitty when she meets Levin who marry’s her. The two start to live a happy life together. This causes Anna to question her unloving marriage to her husband. Yet, when Anna’s husband starts to consider a divorce things change. But, not before it is revealed that Anna is dying after a complicated child birth. With her husband unwilling to divorce her and her love for Vronsky too strong, Anna keeps finding herself in a tough spot. Seeing how happy Kitty is with Levin, Anna starts to fall into mental despair. Things start to get worse after a summer with Kitty and Levin, leading Levin to admit he has feelings for Anna. Unfortunately, this leads Kitty to end up in an asylum. As this goes on Anna questions her relationship with Vronsky because of Levin’s attraction to her. Anna and Vronsky break things off leading to her choice to remain with her husband. Sadly, Anna knows that she will not be happy and commits suicide by jumping in front of the train at the same station she met Vronsky.

Leo Tolstoy’s 1877 tragic novel Anna Karenina is a simple story to explain. A young socialite stuck in a marriage that is loveless, finds herself in a man who she knows she can never be happy with. Anna Karenina is a tough read to get through, but this story gives us a glimpse into the high life of Imperial Russia and the consequences that could go with it.

The Parent Trap (1998)

On May 2, 1969 the RMS Queen Elizabeth II set sail for the first time from New York City. This beautiful ship made an appearance in the 1998 remake of The Parent Trap. Aboard this ship is where the two parents of the twin girls met, only for the two to divorce and each one take a girl. However, one summer all of that is about to change.

Annie James and Hallie Parker are two girls who look a like. They meet each other at summer camp and get off on the wrong foot almost immediately. This leads to each girl playing pranks on the other ones cabin, until the two of them are sent to the isolation cabin. Once there they avoid each other as much as possible, that is until a rain storm hits leading the two to strike up a conversation. Annie and Hallie learn from each other that they have more in common than they thought. Annie, from London, England, reveals that she lives with her mother but never met her father. While Hallie, from Napa, California, reveal she lives with her father on a vineyard and has never met her mother. However, the two have a photograph of each parent that was torn apart and split down the middle. With the suspicion mounting, the two girls reveal their pictures to each other. The photo is a perfect match of their parents shortly after their wedding on the RMS Queen Elizabeth II. After learning that they are long lost sisters, Hallie hatches a plan that each girl will switch places. So, the rest of the time at summer camp, Annie and Hallie teach each other about their lives and their likes and dislikes. When camp is over Annie goes to California and Hallie goes to London, England.

Once in London, Hallie keeping up the charade as Annie starts by having to explain to her mother why she cut her hair. But, her mother, Elizabeth, loves it. After getting more acquainted with her maternal grandfather and butler Martin, Elizabeth and Hallie head off for a day around London, England. This includes a tip to the Elizabeth’s bridal salon. Their Hallie helps her mother out with some of the fixings for a bridal shoot. From there Hallie asks Elizabeth about how she and her father met. Elizabeth explains that they met on the Queen Elizabeth II, then cuts off from their and the two head home, with Hallie wondering about her father and Annie.

Then we watch Annie as she is posing as Hallie with her father Nick. Annie sticking to the role reveals that she has stopped cutting her nails and avoids the family dog Sammy who immediately knows that she is not Hallie. Once inside the house, Annie hangs out with the maid Chessie who is helping her unpack. From out the window, Annie sees that her father has a new girlfriend. Upon meeting Meredith, Annie is put off immediately by her because of her attitude. Knowing that Meredith is a threat to her and Hallie’s plan of putting their family back together, Annie calls Hallie. Hallie puts off the idea of breaking the news to her mother for another couple of weeks. Doing so, Annie has to think of new ideas to break up Meredith and Nick. However, those ideas come crashing down when Nick reveals that he and Meredith are engaged. Shortly before this is revealed, Annie reveals to Chessie the truth about her identity. With the switch being out of the bag to Chessie, Annie calls Hallie and tells her the truth.

The moment Hallie gets the word that her father is engaged she knows she has to break the news to her father. Yet, before she does so, her grandfather busts her and encourages her to do the right thing. The next morning Hallie breaks the news to Elizabeth who agrees to bring her back to California. After telling her mother a little white lie about Nick knowing, Hallie and Elizabeth head off  to California with Martin in tow. In order to pick up the rest of the family at the airport, Annie tells her father of the idea of having a get together with Meredith’s family at the San Francisco airport. Once there, Annie and Chessie, along with Sammy, head off around the airport to look for Hallie and Elizabeth. Eventually, they do find each other but not before creating a little confusion for Nick, Elizabeth, and Meredith. When Elizabeth catches Nick and Meredith in an elevator, she confronts Annie and Hallie who tell her the truth. From there, the plan spills out with Nick, Elizabeth, Annie and Hallie meeting by the pool, with an annoyed Meredith.

After they meet up, Annie and Hallie recreate their parents wedding night. But, Nick and Elizabeth decide to go their separate ways the next morning. Yet, Annie and Hallie aren’t ready to let their parents off the hook that quickly. The next morning Annie and Hallie force their parents into a corner with them telling them at they are going on a camping trip together. Reluctantly, the parents agree to do so in order to get things back in order. When a frustrated Meredith hears about this, Elizabeth insists that she go. When Annie and Hallie find this out they do everything they can to break Meredith. Eventually, they do and Nick breaks up with her. Nick, Annie, and Hallie return to Nick’s place where Nick and Elizabeth begin to rekindle their romance. The next day Elizabeth and Annie leave for London. Yet, when they arrive, inside the living room is Hallie who reveals she and her father do not want to live without them again. The movie ends with Nick and Elizabeth remarrying on the Queen Elizabeth II with their daughters. Not to mention, Chessie and Martin getting engaged as well.

The Parent Trap was a remake that came out in 1998. In the movie, the ocean liner the RMS Queen Elizabeth II was the center of Nick and Elizabeth’s romance. On May 2, 1969 this historic boat launched for the first time with many people enjoying the beauty of this famous boat.