Jeanette "Astute Crabbist"'s Reviews > Madame Bovary

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
Rate this book
Clear rating

Oy, the tedium, the drudgery of trying to read this book! I tried to get into this story. Really, I did. It's a classic, right? And everyone else likes it. I kept making myself continue, hoping I could get into the story and figure out what's supposed to be so good about it.
I won't waste any more of my precious reading time on this. It's about a self-absorbed young wife who longs for anyone else's life except her own. When she's in the city, she dreams of the farm. When she's in the country, she dreams of the city. When she's at a social gathering she imagines that everyone else's life is so much more exciting than her own. Blah, blah, blah.
Too many wordy descriptions of what people were wearing, what the buildings looked like, etc. If you're going to take a long time to tell a story, it had better be a good story. This one is NOT!
117 likes · likeflag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Madame Bovary.
sign in »

Comments (showing 1-22 of 22) (22 new)

dateDown_arrow    newest »

Kristine Oy this is my book clubs next book. I read it in college and don't recall being annoyed but maybe older eyes will see things differently.

Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist" I'm sure you'll like it just fine. If the reviews here on goodreads are any indication, I have the minority opinion on this book. I kept trying so hard to like it that I gave myself a headache! I'm a fairly patient reader, but I have no use for lengthy descriptions and digressions that add nothing to the story.

message 3: by M (new) - rated it 1 star

M Well, I had the same experience as you, Generic. I kept reading, hoping *something* would redeem this novel, and it just got worse as it went on. I read the 800+ page Anna Karenina and it felt like a fresh (short!) breeze compared to Madame Bovary, which felt twice as long at less than half the length.

Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist" Hi M,
The one good thing I learned from this book is that I don't have to keep trying to like a book just because it's a classic. If I hate it after 30 or 40 pages, I'm still going to hate it after 100 pages!

Danelle25 I agree.

Renata  *Bluetulip* I agree.(2)

Robin Dale Meyers Jeanette - thank you. You said what I didn't want to say! I know sometimes the language of the classics are too dense for my brain, and I wonder if that was part of the problem here. But if I have to endure endless descriptions of environment and clothing, I'd simply rather watch Downton Abby and get the visual immediately. I put the book down on page 84.

Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist" Robin wrote: "I put the book down on page 84."

Not a minute too soon! Good point about being able to get an immediate visual here in our modern age. Back then people liked to read stuff like this because they had no other option for relating to places they'd never visit.

message 9: by Feefi (new)

Feefi It has taken me months to read this book because I kept leaving it and coming back to it and having to re-read where I left off, it was a real struggle but I kind of have a problem not finishing books I start so I was determined, specially as this is deemed such an important work. Don't get me wrong I can appreciate what he has done, but for me reading it in this era, it was hard work and I had no interest in the long passages about the scenes and the lives and conversations of the village folk that interspersed the plot lines. I get that that is one of the points of the book, that all these parts are so detailed and accurately reflective of life in that place at that time and might be interesting historically, but I was only interested to find out what happened to Madame Bovary. Flaubert is very clever to tap into and articulate some human behaviours and characteristics so well, but by the end I was so annoyed with her and her antics. She was just off her rocker. I also found some of it difficult to understand. Even by the end I still hadn't learnt the names as they seemed similar and confusing so I only knew who was who when he referred to them as the pharmacist, the gravedigger, etc. I also didn't realise when they were having sex until later on!!! i.e. when it said 'she gave herself to him' in the field or when they go on the long cab ride with the curtains drawn. I guess that was how you wrote a sex scene in those days. And when they did the clubfoot operation it took me a while to work out whether they were talking about operating on a man or a horse! I'm not dumb and I read a lot but this was a tough read for me!

message 10: by Feefi (new)

Feefi I thought this line was beautiful though: But to speak ill of those we love always requires of us a certain degree of detachment. We should never maltreat our idols: the gilding rubs off on our fingers.”

Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist" Nice quote Feefi. I don't think I got far enough in to see that line.
Definitely a confusing novel. Some of these old ones almost require us to take notes, or have a Cliff's Notes handy!

Ziyanda Xaso could not agree with you more! i have no patience for this woman and will not devote a minute more of my life to her ingratitude!

message 13: by Lela (new) - rated it 1 star

Lela You all have made me feel so much better! I read the book years ago and hated it from the start. It was a class assignment so I really couldn't just toss it in the trash. In the report I wrote, I quoted Emma's words...."manure, manure, manure.". My professor was not amused!

Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist" Ha ha, Lela. Your prof should have been glad that you paid attention to the dialogue. ;-)

message 15: by Carrie (new)

Carrie Mason This book irratated me too. I can't handle women whining about their lives and then making excuses for their poor decisions on account of boredom. Find a decent hobby or maybe pay attention to your kid! Hmmm. Grow up be an adult and take responsibility for yourself.

Kekuni Minton Perhaps you missed the point. Flaubert makes fun of his heroine, he doesn't like her either. How Flaubert broke the mold was by getting into the heads of his characters, even though NOT identifying with them. Emma is a flimsy character---flimsy, bourgeois, narcissistic. In fact all the characters are shallow. And Flaubert wanted you to notice that there is a lot of that going around!!

Artificialbrain I 100% agree with you. This book is boring, it's all about a bored girl

message 18: by Jeanette (new) - added it

Jeanette Totally agree with you. I read it because it was my book clubs choice, but I'll look forward to giving my review. Its 18th century chick lit at its worst. Just because some people call it a classic doesn't make it one.

Laura Herzlos Well, I would say that just because you didn't like it, it doesn't make it any less of a classic. I didn't totally love this book, but it IS a classic.
Classics are not for everybody, because we all have different tastes.
Now, Flaubert never intended for this to be a pretty story. Some classics should be read with a little of the brain located in "back then", to properly understand. However, if it is not your cup of tea, nobody says that you should read classics just because some people think that everyone should read the classics. There are tons of other books that may suit your taste better. Reading should not be a chore, but a pleasure!

message 20: by Olfaach (new)

Olfaach C'est le livre de Gustave Flobert bande d'ignorants!! vous vous êtes attendu à quoi en exact ? c'est un romancier donc évidement ses livres seront d'une telle longueur

Laura Herzlos Olfaach wrote: "vous vous êtes attendu à quoi en exact ?"

Moi, je m'aurais attendu à une meilleure orthographie de quelqu'un qui nous appelle bande d'ignorants...

Nadine Lumley I felt the same, I thought the book super boring and tedious and was taking me forever, but I was determined to slog though it, once she started her first affair it started going much easier and I began to find some parts very funny and hilarious, so my advice is to stick with it.

back to top