Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand – DNF at 45%
That’s it, I’m calling it.
I have spent way too many hours arduously working my way through this book, and I made the decision that I’m not going to devote any more of my time to being not-so-secretly preached at.
I just finished reading the sparknotes summaries of the remaining chapters, and it looks like I avoided the worst of it. Even the very abbreviated synopsis of what was left, though, left me feeling nauseous. The whole message of this book, and the delivery of it, is just that ridiculous.
If you’re not already familiar with what that message is, it’s the equivalent of a thousand page long love letter to capitalism. Her love of capitalism, in and of itself, doesn’t bother me. I’m pretty middle of the road when it comes to this sort of stuff, so I was willing to walk into her big manifesto pretty open-minded. But Rand is so extreme, and her story so exaggerated, that it was hard to take seriously. Every socialist is portrayed as Satan incarnate, and every capitalist is working to literally become the savior of the world. And there is no gray area. Absolutely none. No socialist has a shred of goodness or “rationality” to them, and no capitalist has any faults. It’s funny reading this around election time, because I’m pretty sure everything that’s happening in the news proves that’s at least a little untrue.
So why two stars? Well, I will give it to Rand–she’s a pretty good writer. And the story itself was fairly interesting at points. It was just bogged down by her crazy polarizing political views. The only person I could see enjoying this book is someone who drools at the words “political science”…”capitalism” too, probably, but I would be afraid of what crazy ideas they’re left with by the last page of this book.