The Bridges of Madison County
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The Bridges of Madison County

3.34 of 5 stars 3.34  ·  rating details  ·  41,699 ratings  ·  2,547 reviews
If you've ever experienced the one true love of your life, a love that for some reason could never be, you will understand why readers all over the world were so moved by this small, unknown first novel that they made it a publishing phenomenon and #1 bestseller. The story of Robert Kincaid, the photographer and free spirit searching for the covered bridges of Madison Coun...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published September 1st 1995 by Grand Central Publishing (first published 1992)
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Community Reviews

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Kate
Nov 24, 2007 Kate rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fireplace owners
Shelves: horrid
Recipe for Bridges of Madison County Firestarters

1. melt 20 oz. parafin in 4 1/2 quart slow cooker set on low--should take about 20 minutes.
2. set several sheets of newspaper on kitchen floor next to slow cooker.
3. Tear pages out of binding--I find about seven at a time works best. Discard binding.
4. Crumple each page individually--you can do it two or three at a time, but recipe will go farther if you take the time to crumple each page individually.
5. With tongs, dip each crumpled page into the...more
S.
Dec 29, 2007 S. added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one/ Would be Fiction writers
The Book, cough, cough: Called a novel, it's more a novella, barely over 170 pages--the better to save money on printing costs--set in large type on small pages. Set between a frame story (utterly forgettable) employed to give the reader a sense of being privy to a real event, voyeurism at it's best--one of my acquaintances actually tried to find the characters from the novel in the real world using the Internet, convinced Waller could never have made the story up. She was half right: Waller did...more
Gus
Some may look askance at my 5-star rating. Behold, from the chapter "The Highway and the Peregrine":

"Robert, when we were making love last night, you said something that I still remember. I kept whispering to you about your power -- and, my God, you have that. You said, 'I am the highway and a peregrine and all the sails that ever went to sea.' You were right. That's what you feel, you feel the road inside of you. No, more than that, in a way that I'm not certain I can explain, you are the road....more
Ryan
Feb 29, 2012 Ryan added it
Recommends it for: those with head injuries
This was a bestseller for 2 years when I first became a bookseller.

It is no coincidence that I started to hate most people with a deep and abiding passion around that time as well. Robert James Waller writes sex scenes that are so moronic you wonder if he's ever had it himself.

Bottom Line: I've read more romantic things on Craigslist.
Molly
Feb 08, 2008 Molly rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: absolutely no one
Recommended to Molly by: everyone including their aunt Sally
Sometimes I wish that negative stars were allowed...this book deserves the Anti-Star. I wanted to read this book because everyone I knew had read it and love it and wept over it. "The greatest love story of all time." blah blah blah.

~~Spoiler Alert~~

I have a serious pet peeve. A love story does NOT involve adultery. (Period!with a capital P) I have also started to question anyone who thinks that a "great" love story can only happen if you cheat on your spouse, or steal another persons spouse or...more
K.D. Absolutely
Oct 15, 2010 K.D. Absolutely rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: Joyzi & Jzhun
Shelves: love-story
In 1993, this novel topped the Bestselling Novels List in the US. Why? Check the others in the lists around that time. They were novels by Stephen King, John Grisham, Tom Clancy, Daniel Steele and Robert Ludlum. It reminded me when in 2001, the soulful operatic voice of John Groban made his first waves in the music industry. The market was then dominated by the likes of Limkin Park, Eminem, Avril Lavigne, Nelly and Shakira. On that same year the simple, acoustic yet heartfelt song Pagdating ng P...more
Debbie Petersen
Jul 07, 2008 Debbie Petersen rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: NO ONE
Shelves: absolute-drek
If it were possible to rate a book in the negatives, this one would earn a negative 10. Truly one of the most terrible books ever. Maudlin, whiny and ridiculous. A woman whose husband and children are away has a brief affair with a photographer just passing through. Of course, the few days spent with this complete stranger prove that her marriage is a sham and the photographer is her true love...but wifey sacrifices herself in martyrlike fashion and suffers to allow her substandard husband to co...more
Belinda
Aug 17, 2007 Belinda rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People who read "People" magazine religiously?
A friend sent me a copy a kajillion years ago, so I dutifully read it. I still adore the friend, and have liked plenty of other books she recommended, but I was actually ANGRY with her for WEEKS for causing me to have read this book. This was my all-time "worst book I ever read (to the end)" until I read "The Devil Wears Prada."

I wouldn't disparage anyone who DOES like this book, obviously, but to say it wasn't my cup of tea would be...WILDLY kind. How to describe the experience? Let's see. It's...more
David
The literary version of Thomas Kinkade.
Katie Herring
Holy shit I think this is my new favorite book. It was absolutely wonderful. I started it like an hour ago, and I already savored its 170 pages. Crying, the last fifty or so. It's similar to Night of Rodanthe, but its better, sweeter, shorter and sadder.

I want a love like this, but one that can happen. Not one tainted with already present responsibilities.

It ended as happily as a novel like this could.

Its also made me mildly interested in photography. Funny how that works.


AFTERTHOUGHTS:

I just...more
Megan Huff
This book was absolutely beautiful.

I read it over the summer because I had just taken a photography class and I was interested in a lot of related stuff. I found the book on my mom's bookshelf and picked it up mainly because of the fact that the man is a photographer.

I read that book in a day, I couldn't put it down. It was probably one of the greatest works I have ever read and possibly will ever read.

I would recommend The Bridges of Madison County to anybody who wanted to read a good literatu...more
Jennifer
Jul 25, 2013 Jennifer rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who make furniture out of books.
Shelves: bad-bad-bad, fiction
I always felt that this was one of those books written for women who are menopausal and in a marriage that dried up and need to hold on to a fantasy that they don't need to actually do anything in order to make their life better - it will just happen. It will just drive up to their house and hump them and it will be ok because their marriage sucks and they decide to stay in said crap marriage rather than run off - because running off would be cliche. Happiness is cliche and should be shunned.

AR...more
Nikki
I'm embarrassed to have read this maudlin piece of shit.
Judy
This book was laughable. Francesca is a housewife living in Iowa where no one--not her children, her husband or her neighbors--see her for the beautiful, fascinating worldly woman she is. Until that fateful day when Robert Kinkaid, a handsome, fascinating worldly man shows up on her doorstep asking for directions. And talk about great timing! Her husband and teen-aged children just happen to be out of town for the next four days. How convenient.

Francesca and Robert have four crazy, wonderful day...more
Fed
You guys have completely lost the plot.
You simply can't say that this is not a good book. It's well written, the story stands its ground and there is that bit of intrinsec poetry which can make a good read into an excellent one.
And remember, it is a book! What is this bigotry of saying that you don't like it because she has an extra marital affair?
The story works and the main doubt the author underlines is for her between leaving her obligations and following her heart, regardless of the adulte...more
Kayefex
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lucy J Jeynes
I read this on a plane so luckily I had an endless supply of sick bags handy. Truly one of the worst books I have ever read. Partly because it masquerades as a "proper novel". Bleargh. Retch.
David
May 16, 2007 David rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Tony Snow
If I were a bridge, I would gather up an army of bridges from around the globe and arm them with all of the of R. J. Waller remainders we could find. I would then hook up with a willing metalsmith who would fashion sharp corners for every one of these books. No one deserves a Slow Waltz on Cedar Bend between the eyes more than Mr. Waller. Although if my bridge army can't locate him, Ann Coulter will do.
Debbie
Everything about this book is ice cube slowly melting on hot skin. His essence which he wore like a mantle regally, reached into her strangled mute soul and caused it to speak again, to live again.
Excellent good read!


Here's the thing. I think those of us in the avid readers club sleep a lot of books that go to cinema. We may think, I saw the movie, I liked or didn't like it, why bother with the books. This is a thought process that we are all guilty of and I am working diligently to correct thi...more
Erinoc
Apr 23, 2008 Erinoc rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who don't mind some romance with guts and smarts
I did not expect to like this book. I didn't want to like this book. I haven't seen the movie and I don't think I every will. It looks painful.

I've never expected so little from a book and got so much. A friend encouraged me to read it and I guess the introduction kind of sparked my interest. I wanted to know why this brother and sister were so motivated and emotional about getting this story told.

I found some of the descriptions of love a little cringe worthy - but that is the type of reader I...more
Deborah Edwards
What I learned from this book is that no matter how hard you throw a paperback, it will rarely dent the wall. Which is a good thing, because I threw this one more than once, as I was stubbornly determined to finish it despite my hatred of its flowery overblown writing, its misplaced glorification of the story, and its ridiculous pacing. That said, it somehow became a remarkably good film. I guess it's all a matter of giving the material to a decent screenwriter and some fabulous actors. The auth...more
Alisa
Robert James Waller is quickly becoming one of my favorite writers. I love the America that he depicts, the dusty trails and weather-worn characters that can be found off the beaten path. This particular story makes for an interesting discussion, debating the morality of Francesca's decision. I understand why she chose to stay, out of a sense of duty and loyalty to her family. At the same time I wanted to scream at her "How could you let Robert get away?! Life is too short to live without passio...more
Keith
The best line I ever saw concerning this book is from a reviewer of the Clint Eastwood movie of it, something about how amazing it was that Eastwood could made a silk purse out of such a sow's ear of a book. I thought that pretty much summed it up. The only thing I learned from this book is that there are covered bridges in Madison County, Iowa. I think I could have survived without that knowledge.
Branwen *Blaidd Drwg*
"It's clear to me now that I have been moving toward you and you toward me for a long time. Though neither of us was aware of the other before we met, there was a kind of mindless certainty humming blithely along beneath our ignorance that ensured we would come together. Like two solitary birds flying the great prairies by celestial reckoning, all of these years and lifetimes we have been moving toward each other."

This book. Oh my God, this book.

I just finished it earlier this morning and I have...more
Dolly
Dec 10, 2007 Dolly rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: older folks who don't read much
In the introduction, the author spends a few paragraphs trying to suss out the difference between passionate and maudlin. Too bad he didn't come to a conclusion there.

The story is simple: disaffected woman who already thinks her husband is a bore (which begs one to wonder why the hell she married him in the first place) meets up with a hip artiste photographer whilst her husband and children are away and proceeds to boink said artiste on the family kitchen table (and other places). He goes away...more
Sandy Brown
Jan 01, 2008 Sandy Brown added it
Recommends it for: no one
This is easily the worst book ever written, but that's exactly why I love it. It's so appallingly, endearingly awful that the florid sappy phrases never fail to make me laugh until I cry. 'I am the highway and a peregrine and all the sails that ever went to sea.' You were right. That's what you feel, you feel the road inside of you. No, more than that, in a way that I'm not certain I can explain, you are the road. In the crack where illusion meets reality, that's where you are, out there on the...more
Ellie
This is a very touching and romantic story of love found and lost. It's a beautiful tale of two people who found each other one warm summer's night, fell in love even though they had only a few days together, and spent the rest of their lives remembering and regretting not taking their chance. This is not a fairytale, but a heart-breaking story of a once in a lifetime love. Don't read unless you make sure you're fully stocked up on tissues first.
Jan
Some dialogue from this mushy crap bookclub hit:

"his eyes looked directly at her, and she felt something jump inside."
or...
He (male lead character) reminds her (female lead character) of a "gazelle," or, better yet, "some star creature who had drafted in on the tail of a comet."

Urg...I think I'm gonna puke...stand back you star creatures!
Tanya
I really hated this book. The idea behind this book, is that if your husband is a jerk it is okay to cheat on him. And maybe if your lucky, the person that you cheat with may become the love of your life. Please!! What happened to the sanctity of marriage
Shell The Belle
Quite simply one of the worst storys ever written.

If I could give this book no stars at all I would. I read this book years ago, in the early nineties, and I have never forgotten how bad the story was and how downright depressing the damn stupid ending was! It was recommend to me by a lady who was at that time a temp at the office I worked at, she was around 50ish. She thought it was brilliant????

It has the worst kind of 'feel bad factor' you can ever get from a book, or a film, as the film was...more
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Books, Wine, and ...: The saddest love-story ever? 19 69 Mar 06, 2014 08:17AM  
review 62 152 Jan 15, 2014 05:55AM  
I started liking it better once I stopped seeing it as a love story. 10 89 Apr 30, 2012 10:36AM  
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Robert James Waller is an American author also known for his work as a photographer and musician. Several of his books have been on the New York Times bestseller list including 1992's The Bridges of Madison County, which was the top best-seller in 1993. Both that novel and his 1995 novel, Puerto Vallarta Squeeze, have been made into motion pictures. Waller currently resides in Texas.
More about Robert James Waller...
Slow Waltz In Cedar Bend A Thousand Country Roads Border Music Old Songs in a New Cafe: Selected Essays Puerto Vallarta Squeeze

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“The human heart has a way of making itself large again even after it's been broken into a million pieces.” 220 likes
“In a universe of ambiguity, this kind of certainty comes only once, and never again, no matter how many lifetimes you live.” 172 likes
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