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4.22.2015

Book Report - Madam Bovary

It's been a while since I read any of the classics. Feeling up for a challenge, I decided to read Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert.
Madame Bovary is the story of Emma Bovary, a farmer's daughter who happily marries Dr. Charles Bovary, the local physician. Her excitement for married life doesn't last long as the realities of being a doctor's wife in rural France soon set in. Bored beyond all measure, Emma starts down a dangerous road full of flirtations, affairs, and mounting debt in an attempt to make her life more like the fanciful and romantic novels she devoured as a youth. But will the payoff be worth the risk?

Let's hear it for Emma Bovary; the original Real Housewife! I admit, I too get bored with the monotony of my every day life, but I certainly wouldn't risk my marriage or savings because of it. Instead, I'll just read about fictional people who do. I really loved this story, and agree it's a classic. I can certainly see how a woman in her position could get herself into all sorts of trouble. She's not poor, so has no work responsibilities. Her child is taken care of by nurses and the house by servants. She's not rich though, so her days aren't filled with any sort of social activities either. She's stuck in the middle, and in her mind, has absolutely nothing to do.

Her dalliances are quite exciting, and the ending of the novel is quite perfectly tragic.

The overall story is very good, but as with any classic, the writing style did take getting used to. A lot of the story is told through random third party eyes. For example, a chapter would start out talking about a character at say, the inn - going through all sorts of back story on the character, etc. I would try to absorb all that information thinking this is an important new character; only to discover 10 pages later that their only purpose was to relay to the reader something random that they see Emma do. Then, poof, we never hear from that person again. It's very different from how stories are written today, which may hinder some readers. Don't be deterred though, as it's certainly not that difficult to eventually get the flow of Flaubert's writing style and really just enjoy the story.

Also, I don't think I read the best translation of this book. I'd definitely like to do a little research into what is considered the best translation and then read it again. Incidentally, Madame Bovary marks off "A book that was originally published in a different language" from the PopSugar 2015 Reading Challenge I'm working on. How I wish I could have read it in its original French. I heard it's spectacular that way.

Anyway, the reason I picked Madame Bovary, was that a movie adaptation of the book is coming out later this year. Looks pretty good.


Or how about this modern interpretation? I'd see this one too.

Have you read Madame Bovary? What did you think? Do you read the classics? What are your favorites?

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