by Gustave Flaubert

Reviewer Rating:


It might be a classic, but I didn't care for Madame Bovary.  I might be looking at this piece of literature too superficially, but it didn't offer me much more than a cheap, modern day romance novel.  The story's main focus is the immature attitudes and behavior of Doctor Bovary's second wife, Emma. He  first meets her as the beautiful daughter of one of his patients, a successful, country farmer.  Dr. Bovary is currently married to a wretch of a woman.  An arranged marriage by his mother, love was not a priority, just the practicality of marrying money.  She's older and rather tiresome.  When his first wife dies, he immediately begins to court young Emma.  What he doesn't know is Emma is caught up in reading the popular romance novels of the day and has set her expectations for married life to a country doctor unrealistically.  Her dissatisfaction with the single life she led on her father's farm soon transfers to her new role in town in her home with Dr. Bovary.  As she becomes more and more bored with her home life, she finds herself falling in love with a young man named Leon.  Because of shame, nothing transpires between the two.  Her emotions are left unattended and raw and this is an opportunity waiting to be seized by the right man.  Enter womanizer, Rodolphe Boulanger.  

Emma's desire for romance and adventure is almost palpable when Rodolphe seizes the opportunity for a physically satisfying, but fairly meaningless affair.  The thrills offered by their secret rendezvous are addictive to Emma and she finds herself depending more and more on these interludes.  She begins fantasizing about a life that is really out of reach and spends them into financial ruin.  All the while, the doctor's rose colored glasses stay in tact until Emma has passed away and the truth becomes to difficult to deny.

Yes, there are similarities between the Doctor's love for Emma and what his own mother had felt for his father. And some of the characters throughout the pages can be found in everyday life.  But, in the end, it was my lack of respect for Emma's character turned me sour on this story.  


Post new comment