I got some (affectionate) crap recently from Heather at B(itch)Log for displaying an Ayn Rand cover on my blog. The blog header is a poorly executed instagram photo of my “smart looking” bookshelf. The Chic Lit Shelf and the Series Shelf aren’t ready for prime time. Why did I decide to read The Fountainhead? Two reasons. One- it’s one of the books that Charlie is given to read by his teacher in The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Charlie is instructed to be a filter, not a sponge.) Two- that awful Robbie guy in Dirty Dancing is reading it when Baby confronts him about being a two-timing filthy excuse for a human being. He says he has notes in the margin…
In my quest to read all the books Charlie read, and discover why evil Robbie thought being a jack wad was okay, I picked up a copy. In a nutshell, I hated every single character in this book. I hated Rand’s philosophy. But I found the story absolutely enthralling. It’s like watching Dance Moms. You want to look away, but you can’t!
The story centers on this brilliant architect named Howard Roark (coincidentally he’s a ginger. Anybody else notice the prevalence of red headed characters in literature?) Roark is absolutely convinced of his own genius, but he’s thwarted at every turn by the uninspired. He refuses to stoop to convention, and he’s horrible with people. But the man, can design a modernistic building with the best of them. Frankly, I despise modernistic architecture. I like big old Victorian houses. Houses that look like they’re made of gingerbread. I have no need for those weird square minimalist houses… I even hate Roark’s art. But I digress.
While struggling to make something of himself, Roark meets Dominique. Dominique is pretty much the male version of Roark. She is brilliant as well, but just soooo bored with everything. She admires Roark’s conviction and his individualism. Even after he RAPES her. Seriously, Ayn?! Seriously?! This isn’t General Hospital. They aren’t Luke and Laura. It’s INSULTING that you would even insinuate that a woman would fall for her rapist. Just. Ugh. That part made me so angry! Like Feminist-Zilla wanted to jump into the pages and SMASH THINGS.
There are other characters floating around this book. Rand paints a picture of a giant conspiracy of powerful people promoting mediocre talents to high positions. They just sit around being evil and toying with people. Hating on geniuses and promoting collectivism over individualism. I’m not saying that being an individual is a BAD thing. Far from it! Let your freak flag fly! Get down with your bad self! Contribute what you do best to the world! But don’t get so wrapped up in your own brilliance that you wreak havoc on the world around you. Nobody likes a douchebag. Nobody.
Any of you Bookworms ever read a book that you loved and hated simultaneously? Serious cognitive dissonance up in here. Let’s talk about it!