Cecilia's Reviews > Madame Bovary

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
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's review
Mar 31, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: books-read-in-english
Read from April 06 to 08, 2012

I just finished this story about corruption, misery, endless ambitions and impossible pursuits that is Madame Bovary.
If there's something I'll never conceive as right is adultery, above all things; but I have to confess I could understand Emma when she felt trapped in a monotonous relationship and the desperation she felt thinking about all the things that were out there to be seen and experienced. I too have been filling my brain with romantic novels with dashing heroes and intrepid heroines (you have only to look at my books to prove it) so how could I remain indifferent to Emma's frustrations? What I do not share with her are the measures (always desperate) she took to escape from her boredom. What angered me was Emma's inexistent attempts to love, or at least, to appreciate her husband for who he really was, a tender man who loved her most profusely and who, like he said by Emma's deathbed "did everything he could"
The cause of Emma's marital anguish also resided in the fact that Charles neglected her sometimes, but it didn't justify her actions either.
When it comes to her lovers, I did believe that Emma could have been happy with Léon, and I sort of wanted them to be together. They had the same romantic nature and similar ambitions and Léon loved little Berthe! Rodolphe, on the contrary, was the typical coward dandy with no feelings, a true rat, that contributed to Emma's corruption and bad habits. It was he who induced her into the affair, it was he who made her mad and evil and who led her into a destructive behaviour that she would keep repeating with Léon when she encountered him. I think if it wasn't for Rodolphe's malice Emma would have conducted a more mature and healthy relation with Léon.
In regards to the end, the only one who inspired pity was poor little Berthe. She was the true victim of her mother's lack of interest and her father's later abandonment. A character that disappointed me was Monsieur Homais. He was supposed to be Berthe's godfather but when Charles and the child where in poverty, he stopped visiting them and turned to be a selfish man absorbed by his snobbish ways and personal ambitions.

A very good story, worthy of its controversy.
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Reading Progress

04/06/2012 page 142
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Comments (showing 1-12 of 12) (12 new)

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message 1: by Ash (new) - added it

Ash Samoska Cecilia! I want to read this, too!

Cecilia Yayyyyy!!! It sounds the perfect mix between drama and scandal isn't it?!

message 3: by Ash (new) - added it

Ash Samoska Yes! We should read it together whenever you have free time because I miss our classic lit. talks. 3

Cecilia I was planning to (finally) get a copy of Wuthering Heights, but I'm so intrigued by Madame Bovary that perhaps I'll get it instead...#dilemma

message 5: by Ash (new) - added it

Ash Samoska Girl, please. I have so many problems right now. I don't have *anything* to read! I thought about reading about another super scandalous and bad ass Victorian, though. I think you'd probably like Madame Bovary more. I love Wuthering Heights, but I feel like Emma Bovary might be more up your ally than Heathcliff and Cathy are.

Cecilia Ugh no...I know that feeling and it's awful, really. Tomorrow I'm definitely going for Madame Bovary then. It's settled! I have three on my "to buy" list though: Wuthering Heights -because of reasons-, Tess and Anna Karenina. I think Anna and Madame have a similar storyline, the thing is Anna's is more complex due to the amount of characters involved.
You know what I do when I don't have any books around? I read theatre plays. Right now I'm reading "Three Sisters" by Anton Chekhov and it's good!

message 7: by Ash (last edited Apr 02, 2012 01:55PM) (new) - added it

Ash Samoska I LOVE Tolstoy and Anna Karenina; my only problem is getting through it. I still haven't finished it! I will eventually... at least before I'm 30. TESS?! As in, of the D'Urbervilles? Oh my Lord, I love that book so much. Get ready to cry, seriously. Thomas Hardy has a way of making you want to spiral into an abyss of depression.

Anyway, I'll get a copy of Madame Bovary tomorrow and start it this week. I have to look into who the hell Gustave Flaubert is, though, because I don't know anything about him at all.

Cecilia Yes! I want to get into Tolstoy anytime soon! Right now I'm on the last chapters of Madame Bovary and zomg, I love it.
Yes, Tess of the D'Urbervilles! Ugh, I know, I have only read Far from the Madding Crowd but I adored Hardy's style.
Haha Flaubert seemed to be a funny guy. I read some bits of his writing life in the introduction of my book and it seems his Madame Bovary was so controversial he was about to stand trial for it!

message 9: by Ash (new) - added it

Ash Samoska I approve of this review. I'm so glad we both decided to read this because it was so worth it! I understand your feelings about Berthe. :( She and Charles were the only characters I felt pity for. And sometimes just Berthe, because Charles was neglectful sometimes.

Cecilia :3 Yes, it was amazing! we finally matched our readings! the other day I was thinking that if it wasn't for Rodolphe, Emma would have been more tolerant toward her life and would have learnt to appreciate what she had. I don't think she was 'evil' per se, she just had ambitions too big for her reality.

message 11: by Ash (new) - added it

Ash Samoska Definitely. I don't consider her evil at all. I think she was trapped in monotony as a result of her just not fitting in with her surroundings. But then, she also wouldn't have been happy if she had been wealthy and living in the Italian Riviera or Paris. Rodolphe was definitely the biggest problem because he kept enticing her all while sort of making rude comments about Charles.

Cecilia Precisely! I think she would have been happy with Léon. But not when she met him at the theatre in Rouen, but when they first met, because both of them had this "pureness" of feeling toward each other. One thing that bothered me a little was not knowing Emma's age. Léon was evidently a couple of years younger than her while Charles and Rodolphe were older than her but ugh, how old was she?!

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