Thursday, February 22, 2007

Wacko Women in 19th Century Literature

When I learned that book club was discussing Madame Bovary this time, my heart sank. I had already read it--when? high school? college? back when dinosaurs roamed the earth?--and who needed to revisit that old chestnut?

But then two things happened. I picked up the book from the library and discovered that I remembered absolutely nothing from the first chapter. It was all news to me. Then the CD version became available, the one with my all-time favorite narrator, Davina Porter, and I just soaked up the story whenever I got in the car.

I still think Emma Bovary was a twit (which was the only thing I remembered from the first time I read it), but this time everything else hit me--all the different pressures on her, the subtlety with which Flaubert painted her personality and her struggles, and the entertaining cast of supporting characters.

By the end, I was horrified at the devastation that her misdeeds had wrought (though not without help from some other players in the cast), and kept having to remind myself that it was only a book, and that I didn't have to be depressed about the desperation of her life.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Joan A.,

Thank you for your comments on Madame Bovary. I found that any attempt to skim through parts of this book (and I did try) were futile as all meaning was lost in not paying attention to the literary beauty.

I did not make it to the last book club meeting, and thanks to your comments will now attempt to read it to the horrifying end!

Just to let you all know...this is my first attempt to leave a comment on a blog site. If I can then so can you! Now I will follow Joan's instructions carefully.

Barbara M.

Joan A. said...

Thanks, Barbara!

Joan A. said...

...and we missed you at book club.