1. What made you want to read the book?
Lucy: I had previously watched the film starring Robin Williams, and I really wanted to experience the art and beauty of the plot once more. Yasmine had recommended the book to me, and we decided that this would be the perfect choice for a readalong. We discussed this before Robin Williams’s unexpected passing, but I think finding out this news made me want to read it even more.
Yasmine: I picked it up in the library. At first I was interested because of the title. Then I read the back of the book and was intrigued by the characters’s challenge to make their lives extraordinary, as well as all the poetry. I’ve not read a great amount of poetry before, but I’m starting to get more into it and I like it so far! I knew this would be a book about life , beauty and poetry. What more could a reader want? 🙂
2. What were your overall thoughts of the book?
Lucy: As a film-book adaptation, the book didn’t quite have the same magic as a book-before-the-film. Also, the writing could have been a bit more polished at times, I think. However, it’s the plot’s vibrancy of youth and excitement of discovering literature which drew me to the book, and I wasn’t disappointed. There are so many mentions of great poets and poems.
Yasmine: I absolutely loved it. The book made me write a bucket list again and think about my life. I also immediately ordered it on Amazon! The story itself says so much about life, and you can’t help feeling saddened by the plot.
3. Did the book help you with anything going on in your own life, or match any of your feelings?
Lucy: More than one thing, I’d say. I tend to push myself to work too hard and be overwhelmed by the little things, when really I should be thinking about the bigger picture. Thoreau’s wisdom about getting to ‘the marrow of life’ can’t go unnoticed when reading this. Also, Todd Anderson couldn’t be more similar to me when my social anxiety was at its worst.
Yasmine: Yes, at this moment I’m experiencing the so-called twentysomething or quarterlife crisis. I’m quite busy with the big questions, for instance: what is my purpose, what is the meaning of life, what do I want to do with my life? And Dead Poet’s Society is so appropriate for this. It’s about doing extraordinary things, following your dreams, not worrying too much about what others think. It also gave me ideas for lots of further reading. I definitely want to read the poets named in the book, especially Walden by Henry David Thoreau. After reading this quote of his in the book, I can’t help but be interested in his writing:
“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.
The quote expresses my biggest fear: getting old and discovering that I haven’t done what I wanted to do or enjoyed meaningful experiences.
4. Who would you recommend the book for, or for what feelings and situations?
Lucy: I’d like to put it in the following categories: Experiencing Adolescence, Being More Assertive, Make the Most of Life and Overcoming Social Anxiety. The book and film have helped me greatly with all of these.
Yasmine: I think everyone can get something from this book. It is about life and making something of it, so this should interest everybody. In particular I would recommend it to people who – like me – are busy with life’s big questions, alongside lovers of poetry and philosophy.
5. What was your one favourite part about the book?
Lucy: For me, it’s got to be the mention of Tennyson’s poem ‘Ulysses’ – one of my absolute favourites.
Yasmine: I’m a romantic soul, so it’s got to be the part where Knox goes to Chris’s school, gives her flowers and reads a beautiful poem. There’s not a great deal of action in the book, and while I did enjoy the plot, it can’t be a favourite of mine simply because it’s so sad.
6. What rating would you give the book?
Lucy: Four stars.
Yasmine: I gave it four stars on Goodreads. The book really got me into action again, and it’s a beautiful story. I didn’t give it 5 stars because I regret it wasn’t longer. I wouldn’t mind reading 500 pages about the boys’ adventures and the Dead Poet’s Society!
Have you read Dead Poets Society, or watched the film? We’d love to hear your thoughts and reflections on both in the comments box!
You can find the book on LitTherapy here, alongside links to get your own copy.