“One of the strongest (negative) reactions I've gotten from a book in a long time. I am annoyed that I cannot truly say I hate it, as I do think it was well-written, I did find it compelling, and there were elements of it that I liked. But Werther is just awful. Awful, awful, AWFUL! He is simply one of the most unlikable and unsympathetic protagonists I have encountered. All of his problems are self-inflicted. He is pompous, self-aggrandizing, needlessly melodramatic, and selfish and thoughtless of the needs and desires of others. His philosophy is skewed in that annoying way that Romantics (capital "R") tend to be. I cannot fault that, as it is a product of the time, but it is still grating to my modern (and Enlightenment influenced) sensibilities.
I do admit, however, that this is personal bias. I did say that I found it to be well-written. The ideas put forth in the story are interesting and thought-provoking, though I did not agree with them. The descriptions, flowery though they may be, did a good job of capturing the world of the story and of helping the imagination envisage it. While other characters in the story aside from Werther appeared somewhat flat or simplistic, I consider this to be because they are presented by Werther, showing them as he see them, and not how they truly are, which is why Lotte is so idealized and Albert is characterized as lacking vision or passion. While I did not care for Werther's character, it was very fully realized, as one would expect from an epistolary work.
Overall, while I loathe the main character, and while this naturally affected my enjoyment of the work, I cannot deny the book's merits and would be remiss if I said it wasn't worth a read. Just not my cup of tea.”
Zachary P wrote this review Sunday, October 6, 2013.