Jessica's Reviews > Jude the Obscure

Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy
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's review
Apr 03, 2008

liked it
bookshelves: kind-of-depressing
Recommended to Jessica by: the guy at the crisis hotline
Recommended for: YOU, if you've finished all the chicken soup for the soul books already
Read in January, 2001

If I remember correctly, this book is a real laff riot, with a touchingly sweet and uplifting message. I think I read somewhere that Hardy was feted in the streets of his hometown Christminster and given the Feelgood Author of 1895 Award for this baby, and rightly so! What a heartwarming gift for someone who's feeling down, such as a student who's just lost his financial aid, or someone you know who's trying to make an unconventional relationship work despite social strictures. Okay, full disclosure, I read Jude the Obscure in college and honestly remember little about this book, except for the warm fuzzy sensation I got when I finished it: a wonderful, comforting feeling that wrapped all around me, like the soft yellow blanket my grandma knitted for me when I was a baby. A special, safe feeling like I knew no matter what happened in anyone's life, things would eventually work themselves out just fine.

And isn't that truly why we read literature? For such comfort and solace in an uncertain world? If you love stories of working-class heroes and close loving families fighting hard in the face of adversity to triumph in the end over all obstacles, this book is for you.

Have fun!
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Comments <span class="smallText"> (showing 1-40 of 40) </span> <span class="smallText">(40 new)</span>

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message 1: by Kimley (new)

Kimley Oh crap, I have to read the Chicken Soup for the Soul books before this. Sorry Hardy, not likely...

Have you read any other Hardy? I actually loved Tess of the D'Urbervilles so I'm just curious to get a gauge on your Hardy feelings.

message 2: by Jessica (last edited Apr 04, 2008 03:25AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jessica I devoured Hardy as a teenager... this was one of my favorites, as was Tess, and 'The Return of the Native.' I'm afraid his thick novels fed my poor tragic-romantic-fantasy life, but I also loved his description of landscape, the heath, in 'Return' especially.

Jessica This is the only one I've read! I guess I should toss Tess on my "who'm-i-kidding" aka "to-read" pile. Is Tess also a fun, inspirational date-movie kind of story?

message 4: by matthew (new)


i don't believe the man wrote a happy ending in his life. my memory isn't entirely to be trusted, tho'.

message 5: by Jessica (last edited Apr 04, 2008 10:56PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jessica that was v funny Matthew!!

message 6: by matthew (new)

matthew it is just a love fest on bookster. thank you. perhaps you can find me a date, as well, since the other jessica's having a baby?

Jessica Whaddaya think? I'm some kind of matchmaker?! well...I'll try...this is going out to my 400-some friends, so maybe one of them...?

message 8: by matthew (new)

matthew i jut figured that, since goodreads has become, more or less, a dating site, i'd put it out there. any help is, of course, appreciated.

Jessica has it? become a dating site? wow...have to catch up here...any research on this, anecdotal evidence? (besides these love-fest threads..don't know what got into folks today 'cept maybe it was Friday, the day before Saturday? right now of course it's the wee hours of Saturday... here in the northeast of the USA at least) so, have any figures? any successful matches? inquiring minds want to know! either way (dating site or not), I'll see what I can do here. I like to be helpful! you might need to tell me your preferences though, you know: age, reading matter, location (does it matter?), etc.

message 10: by matthew (new)

matthew i was referring to the ongoing love-fest threads. the only figure i have is my own portly one. i was joking, more than anything. still, a site for book lovers would be my ideal dating pool. my reading matter's already listed, i should think. my preferred location is the san francisco bay area, but an internet girlfriend is beginning to look entirely acceptable, at this point... perhaps even a robot! alternately, fabulously wealthy jet setters, willing to travel, if that's not redundant, without my financial input, will not be turned away, on that basis alone. i'm flexible about age. perhaps the other jessica or rachel (or their parents) will pipe up and say what would be good for me (or warn everyone away). or even the other OTHER jessica! you're very kind, by the by.

message 11: by matthew (new)

matthew robert, your comment confuses me, a bit. what stories have you been telling?

Jessica A Robot, my! don't get carried away Matthew! you needn't go that far, even in your thinking! and yes, something kind of love fest thing took over GR was palpable and strange...but v nice actually, in a way! it was circa 1960-something! So, will continue on with my investigating...will check out the bookshelves proffered, etc.

message 13: by matthew (last edited Apr 05, 2008 12:02AM) (new)

matthew a free willed robot (i wouldn't want to force myself on anyone/anything) would be lovely, were one to exist. would a robot be capable of love, though (or free will, for that matter)? and would it/she love me? signs point to no. investigate on, though, my friend.

Jessica Nix the robot, esp. the oxymoronic variety ('free-willed robot'). Give it up! No hope at all there. The investigation continues, however...

message 15: by matthew (new)

matthew i'm hardly filled with hope, a a rule - this might be an important fact for prospective lovers - but i'll try to keep it real, as i'm sure i'm misusing the phrase. i just don't want to rule anything out (benign selkies, dryads, peri, and cetera will be considered, as well - i'm not racist).

Jessica Matthew: stick with Hardy, he should be able to help out here...such a romantic...ever read his poetry? think he was fairly prolific in that Dept too...

message 17: by matthew (new)

matthew um, are you kidding? while i'm not familiar with the man's poetry, and i can agree that he was a romantic, on a certain level, the novels of his with which i am familiar (tess, jude, and the return [which had a tacked on "happy" ending, due to publishing demands]) are NOT beacons of hope for terrestrial love. "wuthering heights" is more promising!

Jessica you're right of course...but I was referring to the chicks you might attract with such tragic-romantic novels featured...uumm, maybe not such a good suggestion. I'll take it back! Bronte is good..!

message 19: by matthew (new)

matthew well, hardy probably secured me my first real girlfriend, at sixteen, and bronte has earned me the devotion of at least two girls, over the years, so the suggestion, though i misunderstood it, was not a bad one; don't beat yourself up. still, i take literature rather too seriously (and literally), so my idea of true high romance would likely end in rather high body counts, all considered. thus, perhaps, i might better focus my thoughts on lighter material. heaths and bogs are great, if you're looking to bury people. fortunately (for some, anyway - i like a bit of atmosphere, y'know?), the bay area's pretty well free of 'em.

message 20: by Jessica (last edited Apr 05, 2008 06:17AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jessica hey there...don't worry, I don't beat myself up over anything the bay area is free of bogs & heath...but you've got that mist & rain & lack of sun, yes! lack of sun! I lived in SF for one year (81-82) and have never gotten sick so often (colds, flu) as back then...(course swimming in the Bay near the GG Bridge w/a friend in March could not have helped things). Also, I'm a regular polar bear, I mean I do not get cold, but I was bone-chilled cold nearly all the time there...all that moisture! I love the city, but it did not agree with me. But maybe you are not in SF proper?

message 21: by Jessica (last edited Apr 05, 2008 06:17AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jessica Sorry 'bout that Matthew, I see you're in Berkeley, not S.F....worlds apart, right?

message 22: by matthew (new)

matthew no, not in SF, itself - i live in berkeley, with its nauseatingly abundant sunshine, warmth, and people-who-believe-hugging-near-total-strangers-is-allowable-social-behaviour. i'd much prefer san francisco's fog and chill, but i'm sort of stuck here, much as i shouldn't complain. i do not, however, go so far as to swim in the bay. yikes. i miss my ancestral east coast's varied and violent meteorological manifestations, deeply, but i suppose i can always hope for an earthquake or tsunami.

Jessica Earthquakes are I was in Mexico City for the BIG (1985) don't speak too lightly of such things (my family, not having any word from me for 24 hrs--I neglected to call the US Embassy enseguida--considered me dead...)
but umm...happier thoughts, are in order! Did you grow up in the unhappy northeast? I like it here, all the seasons...the long winters...does a soul good, me thinks!

message 24: by matthew (new)

matthew i did, in fact, grow up on america's northeastern seaboard, or, more prosaically, in new jersey. though my time there was largely unhappy (i'm an unhappy person; i got doctors 'n' stuff), i don't consider it an unhappy place. i even believe my much maligned home state is rightly termed the garden. i truly do miss hurricanes, thunderstorms, and blizzards, to say nothing of milder weather (though i do NOT miss three digit temperatures and humidity - i'm about autumn). the first earthquake i ever experienced (though i only heard it) was with the other jessica, actually. i speak rather lightly about a number of subjects, being a bit morbid, among other things. pay it no mind, if you would.

Jessica WEATHER is very important. DRAMA is needed. And here in New England, they go together. I like that. It's never boring. Autumn, btw, is my worst season. I dislike it intensely. Speaking of morbid...that would be when I can't get out of bed in the morning and want to hide from the world. All other seasons are good ones.

message 26: by matthew (new)

matthew all seasons are when i can't get out of bed in the morning and want to hide from the world (see "doctors 'n' stuff", above), but autumn is when the world seems most in tune with that, so it feels friendly. it's better back east, though. we really must end this conversation, delightful as it is, however, because the sun is coming up, here, and that's my cue for sleepytime.

message 27: by Kimley (last edited Apr 05, 2008 07:53AM) (new)

Kimley Sheesh, I went out yesterday with a friend (who was on her crackberry twittering or tweeting - WTF? - I'm so out of it) and went to sleep not long after getting home and come back to find goodreads run amok! I think spring fever is in the air.

Perhaps we all need to actually go outside and leave the computers behind for a bit? Oh, who am I kidding. I'm just as addicted as all y'all...

message 28: by Monica (last edited Apr 10, 2008 06:09PM) (new)

Monica I considered reading this book to see if I'd get that warm fuzzy feeling because my best friend died unexpectedly on Tuesday. After all the ensuing messages I'll stick with what I'm currently reading and watch spring make the world come alive after this lingering winter. They lie about everything else so maybe they are lying about it being springtime.

message 29: by matthew (new)

matthew i'm sorry to hear about your friend. hardy is not especially comforting, no.

message 30: by Monica (new)

Monica Thanks, Matthew. She was a great gal. She'll be missed by lots of people.

message 31: by matthew (new)

matthew i'm sure she will.

Jessica I'm really sorry to hear that, Monica. PLEASE do not read this book. It's incredibly depressing. My review of it is a joke.

I'm trying to think of something actually uplifting to recommend, but finding some daffodils to look at is probably your best bet.

message 33: by Monica (new)

Monica Thanks very much, guys! Nice poem Sara! My friend Marie had seven kids who are my adopted family so we'll continue together. Robert, your note is a poem. You're living proof that there are real people with soul in LA! Thanks, everybody:)

message 34: by Ruth (new)

Ruth I'm so sorry, Monica. What a jolt that must be.


message 35: by Ruth (new)

Ruth BTW, the standard California-has-no-seasons rant always gets my back up. Of course we have seasons. Right now it's the chill is off the air hills are covered with the brilliant fling of wild mustard season. Next comes June Gloom, which can sometimes start in May. Then we get never rain broiling inland season when Catalina goes into hibernation. Followed by glorious blue, Catalina in full glory...

Ya don't need no season for earthquakes.

Jessica Yeah, seasons of a sort are everywhere I guess...I remember loving the rainy season when I lived in Mexico rained every day from about 4pm - 6pm, from May to September. It was a cleansing ritual and delightful besides. The regularity of it was wonderful. I think the rainy season is a bit off now, what with climate change, etc., but it was still there (the rain) when I was en el D.F. last summer, just not as everyday-regular.

message 37: by Monica (new)

Monica What's "en el D.F."?

message 38: by Ruth (new)

Ruth Distrito Federal.


Igetnervousinsocialsituationsmotherfucker I'm sorry, but what do you, Jessica, know about men??

message 40: by Miriam (new)

Miriam matthew wrote: "heaths and bogs are great, if you're looking to bury people. fortunately (for some, anyway - i like a bit of atmosphere, y'know?), the bay area's pretty well free of 'em. ..."

Presumably you have already figured out how to get rid of the body so this advice comes too late, but I wanted to direct your attention to the Napa Marsh, conveniently located on your way from Berkeley to wine tasting! Just drive through Vallejo and get onto 37.

Dare I hope that there is a column somewhere on these great Internets detailing the literary blind dates arranged for you by Jessicas?

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