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Madame Bovary


Gustave Flaubert

Madame Bovary
average rating is 5 out of 5

Classics, Romance

R. Alex Jenkins

I have a massive soft spot for Emma Bovary and this book. It's an enlightening read, almost macabre in places, and ultimately sad and raw.

Emma Bovary has everything a person could realistically want: A loyal, energetic and wealthy husband, a nice home, respectability - nothing to do but pass away her days while perhaps thinking too much.

Although her husband has an interesting life, he's eminently the dull one, whereas Emma has all the personality and character. It's an incongruous disparity between mentalities and status - the husband expected to work and plod his way through life, with the wife tied to the house while going nuts as her hormones bubble over as she topples into irrationality. Nothing to do but dream, fantasize and impulsively act, partly through lack of experience, but seconded by clever masculine manipulation, all the while getting into more trouble, debt and deceit, until it's way out of control, while hubby carries on unawares in the background.

Emma is a great character, emphasizing how society can pen women into corners that turn into traps, now and hundreds of years ago. She was an unappreciative, frivolous, unfaithful and wasteful woman, yet someone you still rooted for no matter what because of how Flaubert ingeniously portrayed her as a sincere and beautiful woman who got out of her depth.

I love Emma Bovary for the light she has excited in the darkest corners of my heart.

A rather antiquated book, slow and plodding in places, circular and self-defeating at times, but a ray of sunshine also. The book succeeds and Madame Bovary is hot!

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