Shovelmonkey1's Reviews > Moll Flanders

Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe
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's review
Sep 10, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: 1001-books, almost-chick-lit, bookcrossing-books, history
Recommended to Shovelmonkey1 by: 1001 books list and a BBC adaptation
Recommended for: people who like a lady with attitude
Read from March 26 to April 04, 2009

Moll Flanders; the tale of a bawdy wench out and about being bawdy and getting up to all manner of, well, bawdiness. For those of you not up on your ye olde Englishness, bawdy is a general term for something which is lewd, obscene and lascivious. If you don't know what any of those words mean then Moll Flanders will be a nice surprise for you (and maybe you should get out more).

Moll is essentially a working girl on the make but really she's just trying to find Mr Right and settle down with a nice respectable fellow in order to get a bit of financial security. Life in the early 18th century was no picnic after all, especially if you're a lady with a bit of a reputation and not two coppers to rub together. Social services were not around to step in, help you into a small flat and give you advice about being a job seeker.

Nope, life on the banks of the Thames was very much a sink or swim affair although many people find it difficult to swim when their throats have been cut from ear to ear and they've been heaved in head first after their pockets have been emptied. London was not a pretty place to be and no one can blame Moll for trying to make the best of a bad situation. And try she does, although this mainly involves going through husbands faster than Elizabeth Taylor.

Husband One dies an early death and leaves her with small children to care for. She leaves them tucked up at home and heads out onto the street to begin a career as an artful con-woman hoping to snare another husband. Husband Two is wealthy but quickly bankrupts himself and does a runner to France leaving Moll with some fond memories and an empty bank account.

Swiftly moving on to husband number three, there is some exciting foreign travel followed by an unfortunate bought of incest (well, the world was a lot smaller in those days). Potential husband number four never comes through with the goods which brings Moll to potential husband number five. Number five is a slow mover and is put on the back-burner while Number six is sought out to fill the hole (pun intended) in the interim. Number six turns out to be an even bigger con-artist than Moll and hi-jinx ensue when they both think the other is looted.

Nine children later and six husbands down Moll is still far from living the high life and resorts to meaner crimes than seduction in order to fill her purse. You can imagine that a life like this is probably going to be less than kind on a lady's general appearance but Moll still seems to pull in the gentlemen. Perhaps bawdiness is a virtue in its own right.

A brilliant alternative classic tale with an unusual and bold heroine who is not chaste, girly or prim. A refreshing antidote to the later ladies of the Austen school of writing. Moll Flanders would kick Elizabeth Bennet's ass any day of the week.
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05/28/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-10 of 10) (10 new)

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message 1: by Mark (new)

Mark i so would argue with you on that last point mate. lizzie has hidden depths. she would trounce that 18 th century hasbeen

Shovelmonkey1 Ah well, since historical time difference and facts of fiction are not likely to collaborate in allowing us to put this face-off to the test, maybe we should just call it a draw? ;)

message 3: by mark (new)

mark monday ever read erica jong's feminist/wish-fulfillment take on this, Fanny: Being the True History of the Adventures of Fanny Hackabout-Jones?

Shovelmonkey1 mark wrote: "ever read erica jong's feminist/wish-fulfillment take on this, Fanny: Being the True History of the Adventures of Fanny Hackabout-Jones?"

Nope never read it. Erica Jongs stuff makes me go hmmmm. Will seek it out though. Cheers!

message 5: by Richard (new)

Richard Derus Perhaps bawdiness is a virtue in its own right.

It has served me well lo these 35 years.

Shovelmonkey1 Richard wrote: "Perhaps bawdiness is a virtue in its own right.

It has served me well lo these 35 years."

looking good on the bawdiness.

message 7: by Mark (new)

Mark noticed that though I commented way back in September I did not vote to 'like' the review. How very ungracious of me cos it was most enjoyable one. For some reason the review has just been reposted to me in the daily update email, don't know why but it gives me the opportunity to correct that oversight. Thanks Shovel

And Richard, only 35 years , Does this mean you were a very unbawdy adolescent

Bookguide Superb review!

Shovelmonkey1 Bookguide wrote: "Superb review!"

Thanks very much. I liked this book a lot and enjoyed reviewing it almost as much!

Lauren YES!!!

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