Monday, June 30, 2008


Rating : 2.5/5
Number of Pages : 329
Reason for Reading : Guardian 100 Greatest Books of All Time Challenge, TBR Challenge 2008

Emma Rovault marries Charles Bovary imagining she will move into a life of luxury and riches filled with love and passion. He earns a respectable wage as a doctor which also gains him respect in the community. Sadly life isn't as Emma dreamed it would be. She feels trapped in a loveless marriage and starts to look elsewhere for the passion she is missing in her life.

She is seduced into having an affair by a bit of a cad who is attracted to her innocence and beauty. They are together for over two years with him eventually getting bored of her and wanting to move on to a new mistress. They are due to run away together leaving behind her husband and young daughter, but he sends her a letter that breaks things off with her. After plunging into a pit of depression she takes another lover.

In time the passion fades again leaving just the empty sex. Her lover is bcoming bored with her and his friends are encouraging him to break with her, she is placing more and more demands on his time and he misses his freedom. Alongside this, Emma's mounting secret money troubles reach a head and the baliffs are after her to put up all of her and Charles' possessions for auction. In desperation she finds a bottle of arsenic and poisons herself, dying a slow and personal death.

To be honest, I really didn't enjoy this novel. I had no sympathy for Emma who brings all the troubles on herself. She freely chose to marry Charles and to have an affair. I felt extremely sorry for her poor neglected daughter who at the end is orphaned. I also pittied her poor husband, even though he was a bit of a drip. Nothing ever seems good enough for Emma and she is always seeing the glass as half empty. I wasn't too sorry when it ended tragically for her, which seems callous I know but it's true!

5 comments:

Nymeth said...

I haven't read this, but I watched a mini-series adaptation some years ago and yeah, she did cause her own troubles. Maybe one day I'll give it a try, but it's not one that appeals to me much.

Trish said...

Ick! Hopefully with the upcoming classics challenge you'll be able to encounter some better ones. I haven't read this one but haven't really heard great things about it either.

Dark Orpheus said...

I feel the same way too. Emma is just such an unsympathetic character I just wanted to smack her silly. And because of her spendthrift ways, her daughter and husband suffer for it.

Alice Teh said...

This sounds like a depressing read...

Kim L said...

Sometimes classic novels are like that. I read "House of Mirth", and although I did get some enjoyment out of reading it, it was a long book with an unsympathetic character who brought a lot of problems on herself by stupid choices.