madame bovary – gustave flaubert

Madame Bovary

My E17 Book Club decided that we’d be a bit more ‘literary’ and read a classic.  We decided on Madame Bovary as it had always featured in the ‘must read’ lists and none of us had actually read it.

Oh. My. God.  How bloody boring is it?  I have not a thing against the classics and have read quite a few (although I’ve obviously always had an issue reading Dracula, as I mentioned before) but this one really felt like an absolute chore.

In fact, out of 5 of us, only one had finished it, and I think that was mainly because he had been off work.  I’d got the furthest through it at 75% – I don’t think the other 3 had even made it halfway.

I can imagine that when it was first published, it was probably deemed as rather racy, but to be perfectly honest, although she has a couple of affairs, NOTHING happens.  At all!

She has a child which she just seems to have no interaction with at all.  She marries a man who is besotted with her and then is immediately bored with being married and views him with complete distaste through no fault of his own.

She seems to fluctuate between wishing she’d stayed in a convent, or become a nurse and then condemning her husband (a doctor) for not being able to provide her with the life of a wealthy woman.

She’s just a nasty, contradictory piece of work.

And there’s a couple of scenes within the story that I just found completely weird – they added nothing to the story and yet quite a lot of effort was put into including them.  There was a whole piece with a guy with a club foot, and then also when she is reacquainted with Leon.  She meets Leon, and he hires a carriage, obviously to initiate their affair, but there are about 4 or 5 pages of this carriage just barrelling along various streets and areas of interest with no ‘action’ described, just the view of the cab-driver and a ‘disjointed voice’ that keeps telling him to carry on.  Tis most bizarre.

It is definitely not a book I would recommend to anyone!


One thought on “madame bovary – gustave flaubert

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  1. No loss your not finishing it. I read it when I was young and read everything, and it has the most depressing and dreary ending you can imagine, with everyone coming to a bad end.

    Not a fun read. Steer clear of Crime and Punishment too, is my advice.

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