This is an excellent explanation of why I didn't like this volume.
And I tried. And I'm never interested in the growing up parts that every (semi)-autobiography for some reason needs to start with. Where did it all begin? Not always at the beginning.
It's very difficult to isolate a particular book and explain its good and bad parts without comparison, so I'll do it: I thought Swann's Way was much better. Quite possibly because it is a first exposure to Proust's writing style, but also because I think his descriptions are more believable when applied to childhood, and I like the idea of an adult re-visiting the magic of his youth with a much bulkier vocabulary.
This volume was different. I got really annoyed with Marcel as hero- everything just seems to happen to
him. As for his heterosexual interactions with lady friends, I'll need to get over the idea of Proust as central character, because I didn't buy any of it.
Could we imagine our own lives with this level of passion? Well, would we want to?
Should his adult life become more exciting, I will stick with In Search of Lost Time but only after a hefty break. Reading Proust is like eating honey for breakfast lunch and dinner- the first few days are AWESOME! Why isn't all... oh right.
Finally an excellent quote from Nabokov's Pale Fire that I really wish I hadn't read, because it became all too apparent: "Marcel, the fussy, unpleasant, and not always plausible central character, pampered by everybody in Proust's A la Recherche du Temps Perdu, 181, 691"
A disclaimer: To be fair, I was cringing from the beginning with the idea of having to listen to another author's account of adolescence, so this review is probably a bit skewed. I'm barely interested in my own adolescence, but at 23 I'm not quite as far from it as Proust, so I probably can't fully appreciate this volume anyway. Better luck wished to all goodreaders :-)