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YMMV: The House of the Spirits
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Is Esteban a complex, (very wrong)antagonist who has his own reasons? Or is a badly written, Lifetime Movie type villain who exists simply to Kick the Dog every five minutes?
    • Clara. Strong, independent (even if she's a bit of a Cloud Cuckoo Lander) female character? Or is she simply a manipulative Canon Sue who isn't nearly as saintly as she is intended to be?
  • Anvilicious: The main ones being "COMMUNISM IS GREAT" "FEMINISM!" and "All Men Are Perverts"
  • Big Lipped Alligator Moment: As part of the Magical Realism of the novel we have Barrabas, the dog who won't stop growing. While he never gets to Clifford the Big Red Dog levels, the reader is treated to an...interesting subversion of Bigger Is Better in Bed which has absolutely nothing to do with the story and is never mentioned again.
  • Evil Counterpart: Esteban Garcìa may also be this to his grandpa Esteban Trueba.
  • Ho Yay / Homoerotic Subtext: Clara and Ferula form a very 'close' bond. Ferula feels guilty about her obsession with Clara and even goes to confession because of it. Esteban Trueba ends up noticing this and accuses Ferula of being a lesbian and trying to steal his wife and kicks her out of the house. Clara's 'monologue' to Ferula as she prepares her body for burial sounds very close to an Anguished Declaration of Love at points. The book never clarifies whether or not their relationship is simply a Romantic Two-Girl Friendship or a non-platonic relationship.
  • Idiot Ball: Blanca, your husband was an extremely effeminate man who straight up told you he didn't want to have sex with you. What were you expecting?
  • Magnificent Bastard: Arguably, Esteban Trueba.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Esteban García repeatedly rapes Alba. Not only rapes her, but does so while mocking her for being a Trueba.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: The movie faithfully presents the main storyline, personalities and motivations, but compresses a lot of the plot and removes about half of the characters. Events on the book fold for about 50 years, but the movie storyline last 30 at most. The most noticeable changes are that Nicolás and Jaime are removed, and the plots of Blanca and Alba are compressed on the former. Alba still appears, but only as a small girl instead of her young adult incarnation.
  • Squick: Quite a bit of it, but almost nothing can top the description of Esteban's mother Ester's putrified legs when Esteban returns to her. It's so horrible that it's Esteban, normally a super stoic and macho Jerk Ass, pretty much collapses in Berserker Tears when he leaves the room, launching into an angry and frustrated rant about how he's powerless to do anything for his mother's sake even after ten years of working himself sick to finally pull the Truebas out of poverty.
    • Nearly all of the graphic sex scenes. Mostly due to the fact that almost all of them are nonconsensual.
  • Unfortunate Implications: This book has an obvious feminist slant, but it is really easy to see how it gets Anvilicious to the the point that it becomes a complet parody of what feminism actually is like. Nearly ALL of the male characters have repeated, very detailed mentions of how much sexing up they do, including a graphic description of a male DOG (knots and his poor victim becomes stuck on him and can't be removed without injury!) and a flash forward to show how two characters (who are young children at the time) end up later having graphic sex with a prostitute. (It is never mentioned or explained again) The main male character is a misogynistic asshole who ends up raping an absurd amount of women, many times for no reason at all. Nearly EVERY male character is victim to Accentuate the Negative and All Men Are Perverts.
    • Jean de Satigny is an extremely sterotypical character, fufilling the 'effeminate, sissy Frenchman' stereotype and the drug using, Camp Gay who spends far too much money on extravagant things and shoots kinky gay pornography in the basement. Most of people would probably consider this sterotypical to the point of being EXTREMELY homophobic, but it's played completely straight.
    • There are two (one not explicitly described as such) gay characters in the novel. Ferula has an intense adoration for Clara and curls up next to her while she is asleep. (Whether or not that could be considered as kind of creepy is your decision) Jean de Satigny is a walking gay stereotype who as said above literally ends up shooting kinky gay pornography in their basement. This gets disturbingly close to Depraved Homosexual not to mention they both die LONG before the end of the novel
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not Political?
  • What The Hell Casting Agency?: White actors Meryl Streep, Jeremy Irons, Glenn Close and Winona Ryder as the main roles of Clara, Esteban, Ferula and Blanca. They were surrounded by almost all Latin-American people in the background. Granted, they are meant to be rich high class people, whom in Latin-America tend to be much whiter than the rest of the population, but still.
  • The Woobie: Waaaay too many.

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