Madame Bovary

I admit, I have not read as many classics as I would have liked. I do read voraciously but mostly newer novels, young authors and of course, many magazines. As much as I like to read, you would have thought that someone would have given me some direction in college like “hey, you should really take some English literature classes” but unfortunately, noone did. Although, I did take one English literature class when I was abroad for one semester just because I thought that I should sort of let loose that one semester. Mostly in college I was hard core business. I was more focused on graduating and making sure that I was gainfully employed on the track to success.

So, as I sat with my book club the other night, discussing the classics, I realized how I wish I would have read more. This summer, I am committing to reading at least 3. I believe our book club will be providing the direction on one of them.

We decided as a group to read Madame Bovary last month. I believe we were discussing the Soprano’s and thought we’d take Carmella’s lead.

What amazed me most about Madame Bovary was the time it was written. The book has held up over time. What a trashy romance novel. I hated everyone of the characters. Despicable people yet they gave you some clue into what life was like then. Not so different from today, truth is. Emma Bovary was the absolute romantic fool. A true ladder climber driven by the perfect life with the perfect romance. She destroys everything around her. We all probably know someone like that.

The women in my club are incredibly well read and knowledgeable. I did not realize that this particular book (others as well) were sold chapter by chapter each month to their readers. So, in essence, it is very much like a trashy magazine or a tv show that says “stay tuned until next week when….”. You wonder if some of the story line was put in there just to grab the reader for that particular month.

This book, like many classics, have been translated by so many different people that you could read one and get a bit of a different take than another one. If you could read this book in French, or read Tolstoy in Russian, it would be perfect but alas, English is my first and only language.

Would I recommend Madame Bovary? I am not sure because I have never been a big fan of trashy romance novels but it is a page turner and certainly a peek into what it must have been like living in France during the Victorian age.