As you can see, I'm enjoying the book. After I finished the first part, I was nervous to share my feelings about it. This book is divisive as Rand's intention was to share her ideology through this novel. I really want to avoid a political debate so I'm going to try to focus on it as a novel.
What I Liked
- I felt like I could relate to Dagny Taggart as I also am a woman working in a man's world. As a professional working in business, I understand that feeling of not fitting in the "boy's club." It's difficult at times to be taken seriously and not have men want to question your judgment. It's so condescending when they have to run it by a man. Dagny fought her way to the top with tenacity and hard work, and I loved that about her.
- Henry Rearden is a tough character to like, but you have to admire his willingness to take risks. He worked his way up from nothing. He had no advantages in life, but he had the confidence to build an incredible empire.
- The underdog story of the triumph of the John Galt Line was great. I always want to cheer for a cause where there is so much fighting against it. I found myself flipping through those particular pages quickly because I wanted to see them succeed against so much adversity.
What I Didn't Like
- I think the good and the bad are characterized as black and white. I don't think that it should be that extreme. I do believe in the free market, but I don't think that it means that you have to be completely objective and lack compassion. It's important to be self-interested to an extent because your business wouldn't function otherwise, but it doesn't have to be to the exclusion of the human element. It doesn't have to be all about the buck to be successful.
- Henry Rearden is so cold. He seems to lack an ability to make a human connection. I don't think that example of a businessman should be held up as ideal. His treatment of women is abhorrent. They're almost like possessions to him and that is wrong.
- I really felt a strong connection to Dagny Taggart, but I lost some respect for her character in how she deals with her personal life. For someone who is unwilling to back down in the boardroom against powerful men, it's shocking how she allows herself to be treated in her relations with men. Both men she has been with so far treat her as if they own her and that intimacy is owed them. Where is your self-respect Dagny?
I'm still enjoying the fast pace of the story, but it sometimes gets bogged down by Rand's attempts to support her ideology. I understand that it was her purpose in writing the novel, but for me it screws with the pacing a bit. I'm curious to see where the storyline of Francisco will go. His abrupt change in lifestyle is an enigma, but I'm sure all will be revealed at some point. I still don't know who John Galt is, but I'm certain I'll find out by the end.