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.