Cover Image: Anna Karenina (Easy Classics)

Anna Karenina (Easy Classics)

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Member Reviews

Thank you NetGalley for providing an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I’ve always wanted to read Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina and I was extremely excited to find an easy-to-read and illustrated version. Some classics are really hard to read for me and seeing the length of the original version has always scared me off. 

While I enjoyed the story and I found the adaptation well done, I have to say that this, in no way, is suitable for children. I feel like the target audience should be people that would like to read classics but have a hard time to do so, like me. It’s also suitable for people who are learning English.
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Thank you to Netgalley and Sweet Cherry Publishing for this accessible version of a much loved classic. I've promised myself time and time again that I will read Anna Karenina but have been put off by its length. Although this version is intended for children, I have to say that as an adult I thoroughly enjoyed it and would definitely look out for other Sweet Cherry Classics.
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I have one word for this story: SCANDALOUS.

Everyone thinks that Anna Karenina has the perfect life. She was beautiful, young, rich, and belongs to a known family. In reality, Anna finds her life dull and boring even having a beautiful child and a respected husband. She is missing her younger days when she lived in the city. Anna went to Moscow, in an attempt to help her brother and her sister-in-law repair their relationship. There, she meets Count Vronsky, and her life turned upside down.

Okay, who is reading a classic and actually enjoying it? ME. ME. ME. Who’s getting the time of her life breezing through this classic while still understanding the basic essence of the story in a short amount of time? Can I get a woot woot? ME: WOOT-WOOT!

I have always meant to read this classic, however, whenever I saw the book’s thickness and small fonts, I find myself looking at another book. But here I am! I did not want to read a shortened version of this classic in some summary I found on the web. It was such a joy when I found this easy-to-read version that had pictures on it! I never clicked faster in my life.

I wish more books like this would come out, I'd definitely check out the other ones that were already published.

─── ・ 。゚☆: *.☽ .* :☆゚. ───

The things that I like:

☽ The story in itself feels real. This kind of situation that Anna is in still happens to this day. Nobody can tell me that this does not happen in real life and present time. It deserves to be a classic as it is truly timeless. What happened to this characters in the end were justifiable and fitting to close the story.

☽ The characters were fully-realized. They were very conscious of every move they made. They had emotions. They felt real.

Comments about the adaptation:

☽ It served its purpose. It relayed the story in a shorter and more concise way. I got the whole story, not just simply the gist of it which I could easily get in Wikipedia. It is accurate as well. 

☽ It made me excited to read other classics. If you are like me who is trying to check out all the to-read classics but is having a hard time with the ones with longer volumes, then I suggest that you pick up this book and the other ones in this collection. I think it's a great way to summarize without being too textbook like and still have that essence of having a story in your hands. With the use of this, I gained another level of adoration for classics.

The things that I DID NOT like 

☾ The missing emphasis. What I think was missing that the others were looking for was the emphasis for the message of the book. Anna struggled and Kitty got her happy ending. All of that complex emotion and thought process. But I would not blame the book because in the first place this was meant to be for all ages, which include children.

☾ Appropriation. It has pictures. It has a good story. But I do not think that the story is really applicable for children because of the sensitive topics about relationship and family. I think adults would better appreciate this piece of work. It would be great for this story to not be advertised for all ages.

─── ・ 。゚☆: *.☽ .* :☆゚. ───

In sum: I think the original story and this adaptation is great. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I could not stop reading it. I gained a new perspective of Classic works. Now I know where to go if I'm struggling to get through a Classic. I could definitely say that I know what happened in Anna Karenina without having to read almost a thousand pages.

I recommend this to people who are trying to get into Classics, to people who have tried Classics but haven’t found joy and fun in it, and to people who would like to know Classics story but gets daunted by the length and the language. This is great stepping stone and a summary guide.

DO NOT READ THIS IF you are going to complain about the certain missing themes and highlights on the story. This is an EASY-TO-READ level of the original.
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Anna Karenina has the perfect life, at least on the outside. Despite having everything she is very unhappy until she meets the charming Count Vronsky. Even though she's married and has a child Anna finds herself falling for Vronsky and Anna risks everything for a chance at love.

To be honest, I have really conflicting emotions about this one. I really appreciate and respect the idea of making classics more accessible to younger readers especially ones as complicated as Anna Karenina. I don't necessarily believe in keeping more adult themes from children, I think it always depends on the context and the child themselves (kids can handle a lot more than we give them credit for). I read many children's versions of classic novels as a kid and I think in many ways these are the books that really got me to want to dive into the actual novels as I got older.

This book does a good job of making the story bite-sized. It's easy to digest and understand even if much of the nuance in the themes of it are lost. We also don't really get a glimpse into the thoughts of the characters or a deeper understanding of them. Which for a children's version, is fine. The art in this book is also a highlight as it's adorable - something I never thought I'd say for anything relating to Russian literature. 

The thing with Anna Karenina though is how deep these themes go and since this is a retelling for children we don't really get a deeper look at what is happening. We don't fully explore adultery or the motivations or any of the characters or fully realize that Anna takes her own life at the end. (it's not even really clear that's what Anna did). I do wish we got a bit more to these themes but for the audience, it's going for it does an okay job of handling them.

I think if someone wanted to introduce younger readers to Russian literature this is a great starting point. And I'm honestly really curious about Gemma Barder's upcoming version of Crime and Punishment.

Thank you Netgalley and Sweet Cherry Publishing for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Thanks to NetGalley and Sweet Cherry Publishing for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Anna Karenina is a Leo Tolstoy classic that probably everybody has heard of, but a few like me, know that they wouldn't pick up the book. So, when I saw the illustrated adaptation, I had to go for it. I enjoyed the illustrations, thanks to Helen Panayi. It's an easy and quick read. I finished it in less than an hour. Like other reviewers have mentioned, the story deals with some heavy themes such as adultery and divorce. In today's age when kids are too involved in gadgets, I applaud Gemma Barder for introducing classics to them. However, keeping in mind of the themes, I personally feel that it's inappropriate and would certainly feel uncomfortable to let my children read it. As for the adults who haven't got the chance to read the original, go for this adaptation. You won't be disappointed!
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I am not intending to read the actual work by Leo Tolstoy. This is why I decided to read this abridged novel. 
Over all, I enjoyed this adaptation as a quick easy read. 

Thanks to Netgalley and Sweet Cherry Publishing for the copy. 

Anna Karenina is young and beautiful. She is married to Alexis Karenina who is a lot older than her. She has always felt unhappy and miserable in her marriage, until the reason to assure that feeling was standing before her in the train station named Count Vronsky. A handsome young officer who also felt the same "lust at first sight" if you may.. Forgetting that she is married with a child, Anna decides to fall in love with the Count and meet him secretly; thinking that no one knows. But everybody knows... 
Alexis gives her two choices, either she cut ties with Count Vronsky, or she is to never see her son ever again. 

The story makes you think about things like: 
What is wrong with settling in?
What is wrong with actually going through a divorce despite what society thinks of you?
Why is it not ok to have a simple life?
Do we really have to fulfill all of our desires?

and much more.... 

it feels weird to have this story targeted for younger generation. I mean topics like (Adultery, divorce, lust, cheating..... and much more) In my opinion aren't suitable to children or the younger generations.
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I loved this adaptation and illustration. Maybe it was set for small kids, but I really enjoyed it as an adult. I have always wanted to read Anna Karenina but was so afraid to commit to it due to its length. I am so happy I read this adaptation.
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Thanks to Net-Galley for providing me with an e-arc in exchangeto an honest review.
Anna Karenina appears to have the perfect life. Young and beautiful, she lives in a fashionable house in Moscow with her respected husband and their young son. But Anna is deeply unhappy. Her older husband bores her, and she misses the lively city she grew up in. Then Count Vronsky, a dashing young officer, invites her to dance at a ball.

Will Anna protect the comfortable life she has, or risk it all for forbidden love?
I liked this illustrated version of Anna Karenina, and I think it's a great alternative to bring the little ones closer to literature.
Personally it made me want to read the original, although after my reading of war and peace last year I had decided not to try my hand at other Tolstoy readings for a while.
#kidsTolstoy #NetGalley
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I think the idea of turning classics into kid's books is an interesting concept and can work really well, but I don't think this one was for me. The drawings are very cute and I'm sure others will love this, but I think in this instance I find it's a tale with so much detail that it didn't work for me without that detail.
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3/5 stars

Thanks to Netgalley and Sweet Cherry Publishing for providing this e-arc!

I'm somewhat older in terms  of the marketed audience this book is meant for but nonetheless i enjoyed this and can recommend tho but upon reflection this wan't the best summary and perhaps not the best if the child intends to reread the unabridged chunk of a novel
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This book definitely hit the mark it was supposed to. I'm in AP Lit right now and I used this to understand Anna Karenina as its required reading, and. it was so much easier to understand. I loved the illustrations, and the book was very easy to follow. Lifesaver!
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This is a good abridged digestible version of Anna Karenina! I loved the artwork and appreciated the character and family guide at the beginning. My only complaint was that I felt like this book couldn’t decide if it wanted to be an abridged version for adults or children. The subject matter and content is adult by nature so I don’t feel it is necessarily appropriate for children, but was still written with children in mind which made it a little confusing.
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A super easy to read and illustrated adaption of the Russian Classic Anna Karenina! This was a short and sweet version that captured some of the main events and points of the original story. It’s a great read for anyone looking for a simplified version and even has gorgeous artwork in it!

*Thanks Netgalley and Sweet Cherry Publishing for sending me an arc in exchange for an honest review*
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I love the story of Anna Karenina and think it's a classic.  This book was easily accessible to young readers.
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So there's a guy who's going to have an unhappy life, because he's in love with a woman who's not interested.  That woman in turn is in love with Count Vronsky, who seems interested – at least until someone better turns up.  That someone is Anna Karenina, who is married, and unhappy, and seemingly stuck with it and him.  But of course she can wrap them all up in unhappiness by falling for the Count herself, and – this being one of those Victorian-era novels that just relish infidelity – she will, by damn it.  It's up to our author to make sure that, actually, this is a good thing and that everyone is ultimately destined for a happy life instead.  Or just kill them off.

And it's up to our modern adapter to make sure all this comes across for a primary school audience.  Happily, they've done a good job – with caveats.  This needed a heavy edit – I've seen that audio versions of the original run to 38 whole hours, and this would be but a fraction of that.  What seems to have been cut too much, in my mind, is the milieu – yes, we swing from St Petersburg to Moscow and back, and yes there are pointed comments from the narrator and from the characters whenever Anna has done something particularly against the morals of the day, but perhaps too much of how these society people operate has been excised.

Still, there is a lot of the original drama here (he says, as someone who has neither read it nor seen a TV version).  If children these days are interested in the sex lives of society wives from way before they were born (and I doubt I would have been when I was the age this book aims at, but that's just me) they will like the ins and outs of everything, and the way everyone's happiness swings in and out of the sunshine like those married people on those ancient weather indicators.  To the right reader, it goes without saying, this will capture such a spark in their imagination they will come to love books like this, and find their older selves loving the original – full-time job as it might be.  This served its purpose in being a student's refresher course in the novel, and a guide for the very young to the saga concerned, and while not to everyone's tastes probably did as good a job of it in so few pages as could be expected.
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Anna Karenina (Easy Classics) as adapted by Gemma Barder initially caught my attention as I have never read the Leo Tolstoy classic, but was curious to see how it was condensed and adapted as a book for a younger audience.  As an adult, I was interested to read this reshaping of the Russian classic, but I can say with conviction that this is a tale that does not lend itself to being suitable for young readers, and I cannot imagine that I would ever want to share, nor expand upon, the theme of adultery with children of any age.  While I applaud the idea of bringing the classics to young readers, I did not find this particular title to be altogether appropriate for adaptation.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Sweet Cherry Publishing for an ARC.
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First sentence: St Petersburg in 1874 was full of the most fashionable and important people in all of Russia. One of the most respected families were the Kareninas. Alexis Karenina was a government official. His wife, Anna, ran their large home. She made sure that everything was perfect when they entertained Alexis’s important guests. They had a little son called Serezha, whom Anna adored. Anna’s life was happy, but she had married when she was young. She sometimes felt that marrying someone much older than herself had made her old before her time. 

Premise/plot: Gemma Barder has adapted (but why????) Leo Tolstoy's novel Anna Karenina into an early chapter book geared towards the seven to nine crowd (but why????). The original novel has one of the greatest opening lines ever, "All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." Tolstoy then goes on to show MANY unhappy families (and one happy one).

For those that haven't read the original OR watched one of the adaptations, I'll sum it up concisely. Anna Karenina (a married woman) visits her brother and sister-in-law when the two are at a breaking point in the marriage. (He got caught cheating). She convinces her sister-in-law, Dolly, to give her brother, Stephen, another chance--essentially as many chances as he needs. Family is everything; sacrifices must be made to keep the family whole. While visiting she has a few chance encounters with Count Vronsky (a military man). It's lust at first sight. Though she has a husband and a child, her life is utterly incomplete without HIM. And apparently vice versa? (But is this true? If Anna had said NO, GO AWAY a couple dozen times, would he have started following/stalking the next pretty girl he sees?) We'll never know because Anna didn't say no. The two begin an affair that is not so subtle. When it goes from being a little hidden to right out in the open, her marriage reaches its own breaking point. (It doesn't help that she's pregnant with Vronsky's baby). Hard choices must be made, but she follows her heart...or so she thinks. Abandoning her child in favor of her lover, she risks it all to have a half-life in the shadows. When life proves less than satisfying--why didn't he live up to all of her dreams???? why is life so hard?????)--she decides life isn't worth living at all. Goodbye cruel world of my own making. THUD.

That is one family whose story is told in the original novel. As I said, there were a couple families followed.

This adaptation contrasts Anna's UNhappy ending with Kitty's happy ending. But Kitty and Constantine's story is one visited only briefly.

My thoughts: I have read Anna Karenina twice. Once as a college student. Once as a blogger. I *might* even reread it again one of these days. But my first thought was WHY IN THE WORLD WOULD ANYONE adapt a story about adulterous affairs and suicides into an early chapter book. And I think it is a fair question. Classic or not, this book isn't really a child-friendly read. Not as originally told.

But to be fair, this isn't as originally told. In the original, for example, she goes to visit Dolly because she is heartbroken and upset over her husband cheating on her. But it's been simplified to DOLLY'S REALLY BAD MOOD FOR NO REASON in this early chapter book adaptation:

    As Anna headed for the railway station, she thought about her brother, Stephen. He had written to Anna to ask for her help. He and his wife, Dolly, had been arguing. Anna loved her brother and sister-in-law and wanted to help. Plus, Anna was secretly looking forward to a few days back in the city she grew up in, away from Alexis’s dusty old friends and their serious wives. In Moscow, Stephen Oblonsky’s eldest children were running around his feet. The youngest was crying in her cot. ‘Darling!’ he shouted, as calmly as he could. ‘I think the baby wants something!’ ‘Then why don’t you pick her up?’ Dolly huffed, standing in the doorway of their tidy sitting room. ‘Me?’ Stephen asked. ‘Yes, you,’ replied Dolly, hands on her hips. ‘Then maybe you can be of some use around here.’ Stephen looked at a loss. He peered into the cot and hopelessly cooed. ‘For goodness sake!’ Dolly bustled passed her husband, scooping the baby up into her arms. ‘Shouldn’t you be meeting Constantine for dinner anyway?’ Stephen nodded and went to kiss his wife goodbye. But she turned her head away from him and started to play with the baby. 

And this is how the book handles Anna's being smitten with Vronsky:

    On the dance floor, Anna could not take her eyes from Vronsky’s. She felt as though she had danced with him a thousand times before. The rest of the ballroom seemed to disappear. When Vronsky asked her to dance again, Anna accepted without hesitation. When he asked her a third time, Anna knew she should refuse. It wasn’t right for a married woman to dance so many times with another man. But Anna accepted. She forgot all about politeness. She forgot that she was married. She forgot that young Kitty was in love with the man she was dancing with. All she cared about was Vronsky.

As for the suicides, it's more like boo-boos at the train station. 

Reading is subjective. I suppose there are plenty of adult readers who sympathize/empathize with Anna Karenina, who side with her, if you will. Who see this affair as all kinds of wonderful and oh-so-worth-it. But I think again there are plenty that don't. The adaptation tries with every single page to present Anna Karenina sympathetically and heroically. But the truth is, she's just not that likeable. There are other characters that are a thousand--no, ten thousand times--more likeable within Tolstoy's novel. I just don't see the point of shallowly glorifying Anna's story. Shallow in that it doesn't go the depths--readers are too young to understand about SUICIDAL THOUGHTS, DEEP DEPRESSION, DESPONDENCY. And it's like well, Anna had a boo-boo at the train station and someone else raised her children. The end. (I exaggerate. The text reads something like her family learned that there had been an accident at the train station and Anna was killed.)

For the record (mom asked me this, you may be curious too), reading this would not help you pass any quizzes or tests for school. It wouldn't help you write an essay. You couldn't really bluff your way through class discussion on the themes and significance of the original.

My questions:

    Why does this book exist? Why was it written? Why was it published?
    Who is the main audience? Yes, it literally says it's for children age 7+. But who is really going to be buying this one and why? It will be adults buying this one either for their own personal libraries, to give to their children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews; librarians and teachers may come into play as well. But the question is at what age does one need/want an adaptation for a very adult book? An adaptation for teens and new adults would make sense. But if you're *that* old do you want to be reading an early chapter book?
    If you do want to give this to second graders, third graders, fourth graders to read--presumably for fun--the question again is WHY this book? WHY this classic? What are you hoping they get from exposure to the story? How are you wanting them to connect and interact with the story?
    Is it really for adults who LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the book?
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I feel the classic tragedy has been adapted well for the target age group. 

It's neither too short that the story seems incomplete nor too long that it would confuse the target audience.

The illustrations are the highlight.

I appreciate how the book has been adapted to a less tragic version appropriately.

However, I still feel the story has been told well and good.

Thank you editor and the publisher for the advance reading copy.
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I'm not sure what I expected given the plot of this....however, I remembered reading it and thought it would be fun to read a condensed classic. So, there are pictures, but given the story, I absolutely would not let a child read this. There is infidelity and suicide. and it has adult content far above their understanding and appropriateness. So I would really say this is for an adult who wants pictures and a really short version. However, that takes away from the story substantially. All things considered, I don't really see a point for a simplified version of this book. By nature, it covers some very complex and mature subjects, so there is no reason for an adaptation. So again, if an adult wants to read a simplified version just because, this could be for you, but goodness, do not give this book to a child this reading level is aimed at!
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