I broke the cardinal rule and watched the movie before I read the book. Even though this happened I still always wanted to read the book and I am glad I did. The book is similar to the movie but very different, for example the book is no where near as tragically romantic as the movie. Also the description of Lara (the main female character) is nothing like Julie Christie. This being said the book was a snapshot into Russian life and socialist history that is not even touched upon in the movie.
Doctor Zhivago follows the life of Yurii Zhivago. Orphaned at a young age he moves to Moscow with distant relatives to pursue a doctor career and a hobby in poetry. With a life that seems planned out from when we met his wife, things take monstrous turns. With the tumultuous time of the Russian revolution Yurii is stolen from the ones he loves and flung into the arms of another. This book is romantic but not a typical romance and not at all like the one portrayed in the movie.
Yurii is an interesting character. I wouldn’t say he is likeable. At times he is opinionated, obnoxious and at the same time compassionate. I am still annoyed and feel somewhat betrayed by the events of his later life. I sympathise with his wife (maybe it is just the female bond) but I am unsure how to take Lara. She is described as breathtakingly beautiful, but is that a reason to forgive her, her sins? I do feel for her in the beginning of the story where she was stripped of her childhood, this may account for complications in the future.
This is a good book but not one that I would recommend to everyone. It felt like a constant struggle to read. I had to wade through it and it seemed to take me forever. However if you are interest in the Russian revolution and enjoy your historically novels then read this one, it is very interesting.