By Gustave Flaubert
Welcome to another chapter of the Classics revisited. Oh boy is it cold here!! Not much snow this winter, but cold temperatures! Today up for your consideration is Madame Bovary. This was a racy book in its day. What would those folks have thought of the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy? Well I have to say this is pretty tame by today’s standards.
This is my copy of Madame Bovary. This is another of the classics that I have chosen to re-read. I was hesitant to read this, but my Historical Fiction Romance group chose this book for their January read. Emma the main character of this book is a silly, young woman who marries a country doctor and is dissatisfied with her marriage. She is looking for love, romance and adventure. She wants to be swept off of her feet like in the romance novels. She fails to realize her husband loves and adores her in his own way. He is always there and is like a rock. Emma is busy looking for an “ideal love”. Charles, her husband appears to be oblivious. I think he knew what Emma was up to, he just did not bring it up. He was waiting for her to realize what she had and how lucky she was. She has nothing but criticisms for him. What will she do when the object of her affections and dreams fails to run away with her? She falls into an illness and is depressed. She is also portrayed as a horrible mother who doesn’t quite know what to do with her child.
The book is a slow starter and not very action packed. The beginning provides a lot of character background. I have probably read this three times now. Each time a different part of the book becomes the focus for me. The last time I read it I was appalled at how the Bovarys became victims of money lenders. This time I was struck by how much Charles loved Emma. In his eyes she could do no wrong. He idolized her. He was waiting for her to realize what they had. I think that Emma confuses love with lust in the beginning. The romance and spark and rush of emotions often dissipates, but love is so much more.
I don’t like Emma as a character at all. She made me think of my own materialism. It is easy to see Emma’s faults, but dealing with our own materialism and inability to be happy with what we have is difficult. I think that she had real love, but continued to seek it elsewhere not realizing what she had. When she realized what she had and what mistakes she had made she felt she couldn’t go on and committed suicide. This reminded me of Scarlett O’Hara. She loved Ashley, when Rhett Butler was deeply in love with her. In the end Scarlett realizes that she has Rhett and he has always loved her and that she loves him, but it was too late. Ah, Gone With the Wind the all time epic romance!!
If you read anything and everything, like me put this on the bucket list, so that you can say you read it. I think that Austen, Bronte, D.H. Lawrence, and Dickens are better options if you haven’t read their works.