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review 2016-10-29 04:31
Madame Bovary ★★★★★
Madame Bovary - Eleanor Aveling,Gustave Flaubert

Monstrously selfish woman damages everything of value in her life and everyone who loves her. I found it surprisingly modern and easy to read - I practically zoomed through it. The writing is delicious and the humor is wicked. I'm only sorry that it took me so long to get around to reading it. 

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text 2016-10-27 12:43
Madame Bovary - progress 47%.
Madame Bovary - Eleanor Aveling,Gustave Flaubert

I expected to be bored silly, but have really been enjoying this story. The writing is much more... modern, I guess, than I expected it to be, although I am having to stop and check some unfamiliar words or references that are either specific to the setting (France) or the time (mid1800s). We're really just getting to the juicy parts, though. 

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2016-07-19 00:00
Madame Bovary
Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert,Eleanor Marx Aveling I understand why this book was so scandalous at the time it came out. It dared to voice the fears of many women at the time (I would go so far as to say the majority of poor and working class women). Emma, while not a likable character, was trapped by society's expectations, which to some extent makes her sympathetic.

She thought she wanted to be married based on what society dictated a gently bred girl should do. The reality of her married life made me think of a line from Thomas Hardy's [b:Far from the Madding Crowd|31463|Far from the Madding Crowd |Thomas Hardy|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1388279695s/31463.jpg|914540], when Gabriel Oak initially tries to convince Bathsheba Everdene to marry him. He described what their married life would be like thusly: "And at home by the fire, whenever you look up, there I shall be—and whenever I look up there will be you." I remember reading that line and being horrified by the prospect. Sadly that was likely what the reality of married life was for the majority of women. Yes, Charles was a good, decent, hardworking, honorable man who adored Emma. But unless a woman is head over heels in love with her husband (and I imagine it helps if she's a little short on intelligence and imagination), such a life would be unbearable! Thank God society has changed.

And really, it all boils down to the fact that Emma just didn't want to be married. She wanted romance and passion. While her husband was very much in love with her, he was quite incapable of the sort of passion she craved. When someone else offered it, she was all too willing to allow herself to be seduced. Obviously, such behavior was totally unacceptable at the time. Even by today's standards, there are a myriad of unflattering appellations which would be used on a woman like that. Easy, slut and loose are just a few of the less offensive ones. Oops! Did I say society had changed? Obviously, not as much as we would think. Women are still judged more harshly than men.
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review 2016-04-08 23:15
Madame Bovary (Classic)
Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert,Lydia Davis

This review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot. wordpress.leafmarks.com & Bookstooge's Reviews on the Road Facebook Group by Bookstooge's Exalted Permission.

Title: Madame Bovary

Series: -----

Author: Gustave Flaubert

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Genre: Classic

Pages: 365

Format: Ebook digital edition

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Emma Bovary is married to Dr. Bovary and is the "Madame Bovary" of the title. The story starts out with the Dr though and gives us in a chapter or 3 his history until he marries Emma. Once married, we get the story from Emma.

And what a story it is. A story of discontent, selfishness, betrayal, greed, lust and the ultimate end of all of those things.

 

My Thoughts:

I read this on my phone, so it was read a page at a time, here and there, now and then. I did not read large chunks at a time. I suspect that helped my enjoyment of this immensely.

 

If you had told me that reading about Emma's self-destructive spiral leading to her suicide would be enjoyable, I most likely would have drummed you out of whatever establishment we both were inhabiting at the moment and made sure that you weren't drunk, high or mistaking me for somebody else.  But I did enjoy this a lot. Part of it was the writing. Flaubert handled words like a master wordsmith. When somebody is skilled at something, it shows and it makes it easier to watch/read/partake of whatever they are offering.

 

Like I said at first, reading this in tiny chunks just worked out really well. I got a taste of how horrible Emma was, and let me tell you, a shallower, vainer, stupider and down right pleasure seeker was never written but it was never overwhelming or despair inducing because it was read in manageable chunks. Most classics I plow through and this would have been like getting dumped on by a manure tractor. But instead I simply got splashed by a car passing by and then went home and changed clothes. It made all the difference.

 

It also made a difference that Flaubert didn't glorify what Emma was doing. He simply let the results of her actions catch up to her. I'm a big advocate of moral cause and effect and while some of that can be seen on a personal level, more of it is on a macro level and not seen for a generation or two on a national level. So seeing it work out the way it did was actually encouraging instead of discouraging.

 

On a personal level, reading this book has made me even more grateful that I have learned to be content and that I have a wife who loves me and is content as well. It doesn't mean I don't dream or want to improve our lot in life but it means that if I can only afford a 20 year old used car, then so be it. Reading this also reminded me that thoughts lead to actions and have consequences.

 

I think I have said enough. I'm not sure I'd want to read this again because I probably wouldn't enjoy it as much.

 

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review 2015-12-17 06:51
The first literary victim of consumerism?
Madame Bovary: Life In A Country Town - Mark Overstall,Gustave Flaubert

I decided to pick up this book after a friend of mine saw a television adaptation of what he said was regarded as the most perfect novel ever written. Intrigued, I offered to read it with him and we both quickly acquired copies.

 

Now that I've finished it I question the appellation. It may be a subjective standard, but to me a perfect novel should have at least one sympathetic character, and Madame Bovary has none -- least of all the title character. I found Emma Bovary to be a self-centered person with unrealistic aspirations that brought her family to its doom. Perhaps because of the fact that I have a child of my own I felt that her treatment of her daughter Berthe to be especially unforgivable, and I felt nothing for pity for a fate inflicted upon her.

 

Yet while I contest the view of Madame Bovary as the "perfect" novel, it is undeniably a great one, well deserving of its place in the pantheon of great literature. The flaws which made the characters unsympathetic also made them multi-dimensionally human and fueled my momentum through the novel. I also found its depiction of life in nineteenth-century France incredibly rich and real (perhaps understandably so, given the extent to which Flaubert drew from his own experiences to infuse his work with realistic details). But what clinched it for me was Flaubert's description of the elements of Emma Bovary's downfall, as the author provides what might be the first literary depiction of a person brought down by the scourge of consumerism. It gave his novel a feeling not only of being modern, but even prescient, as it's a moral tale that has become ever more relevant since its first publication. So while the novel may not be perfect, its is nonetheless fully deserving its reputation as a great book.

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