October 23, 2010

Book Review: Madame Bovary

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert published in 1857.

Apparently this book caused a 'moral outcry' when published due to its erotically motivated main character, Madame Bovary. However, today it would not be considered erotic at all, not even a little bit.

The gist: Emma Bovary is married to a boring, and not very talented, doctor but she dreams of romance and travel and all things adventurous. She reads a lot of books and comes to hate her silly husband for not living up to her fictional standards. She ends up cheating on her husband, with several men whom she falls in love with, and spends all the money and more. The story does not have a happy ending.

I was impressed with the male writer who managed to see things from a woman's point of view in 1857 and who created a delicious cast of characters, most of which you will hate, who reveal the atmosphere of the time and the small town setting.

Emma is a relatively annoying character who's head is in the clouds and has frequent 'attacks of nerves', frivolous spending and genuinely dislikes her daughter.

Still, I found it easy to read and I was never quite sure what was going to happen next (which I thoroughly appreciate in a book). The writer really gets into his characters heads, their thoughts and plans and agendas. It's a tragedy really, the whole situation, but very well written.


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