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42 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great adventurous, historical account of a life.
Having avoided watching various TV adaptations and never reading the book before, I was hesitant to read this book. Whilst working abroad the book was a last option on the book shop shelf. I was very much wrong in my assumption regarding the book. It is a marvelous account of live at the rough end during the 17th century. The story moves between London and Virginia and...
Published on 28 Sept. 2005 by Amazon Customer

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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Reads Like a Legal Deposition
This is an extraordinary characterisation of a tough-minded woman making difficult and often flawed choices as she moves through a rags to riches story; unfortunately told as if it were a legal deposition making it overly detailed and dry despite the subject matter. Nonetheless, a remarkable book for its period.

The sub title of the book is "The Fortunes and...
Published on 28 July 2010 by Brownbear101


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42 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great adventurous, historical account of a life., 28 Sept. 2005
This review is from: Moll Flanders (Paperback)
Having avoided watching various TV adaptations and never reading the book before, I was hesitant to read this book. Whilst working abroad the book was a last option on the book shop shelf. I was very much wrong in my assumption regarding the book. It is a marvelous account of live at the rough end during the 17th century. The story moves between London and Virginia and steps from one drama to the next throughout. I was captivated throughout by the trials and tribulations of Moll and her many aborted marriages and criminal capers. I was torn between feeling sympathy for Moll and being incredulous at just how many scrapes one woman could get into and escape from. As stated by others this is also a great account of live during Molls time and also of traditions, morals and customs of the time. I now almost regret not making time for the TV adaptation, although I'm sure it would not have been as good.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic tale, 7 Sept. 2013
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This review is from: Moll Flanders (Wordsworth Classics) (Paperback)
Having heard of this book years ago because of the t.v series I finally got round to reading it and glad I was , it's a wonderful read as it's goes right back the end of the 17th century and shows what life was like for the poor a classic tale of a woman born into poverty and the life of crime shes falls into
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Likeable Moll, 15 Jun. 2012
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I continued my current re-reading of the classics in Kindle versions with this one, first read 40 years ago, and I was pleased to have my fond memories of it refreshed. One of the earliest British novels, this masquerades as a memoir, with Defoe handling the female perspective of the eponymous heroine just as well as he did Robinson Crusoe. I call her 'heroine' though Moll's adventures as sometime prostitute and recidivist thief would seem to disqualify her from such a status but for her late redemption and reform. In any case, we never think of her as a real villain, rather one who is forced by circumstances to make her way in life the best she can. She does admit to being an easy prey to temptation, and she is her own best apologist. As Moll says herself, her 'wicked' life is a lot more interesting to read than her return to virtue and prosperity. We learn a good deal along the way about the harsh conditions of living in late 17th Century England, and of the brutal treatment wrong-doers might expect, both from the courts and, if they catch you, from the mob. Humour and romance help to alleviate the gloom which, along with Moll's winning narrative, always keep us on her side even while she commits her more outrageous sins.

Reviewer David Williams regularly blogs as Writer in the North.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not as scandalous as her reputation!, 12 July 2011
By 
S. Pomfrett - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I downloaded this book with a very fixed view of what I thought this view would be about- a bit of scandal, a bit of naughtiness and a fair bit of adventure. All three are sort of included in the book, but not as much as the reputation of this novel might have you think, although obviously modern views have probably affected this.

I thought Moll, overall, was a very likeable character and Defoe has written her well. The scenes in prison were well written (which is because of his own experience in the notorious Newgate prison!) and I found that I did sympathise with Moll. However, it can be a difficult and confusing text at points; I got really muddled when one character at one point was called Robin and another Robert... I'm not sure if that's just this free copy or if it's in the original manuscript. The text can also be a bit heavy going too, due to the archaic language used, so it wasn't a book I read when I was tired!

Overall, a good read... just not as scandalous as Defoe might have expected!
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Give me not Poverty, lest I steal, 11 Sept. 2005
By 
Luc REYNAERT (Beernem, Belgium) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Moll Flanders (Paperback)
This human portrait of a woman is also an excellent sketch of the living conditions and the social stratification in England in the 18th century: 'the Age is so wicked and the Sex so Debauch'd'.
It shows the immense chasm between a small class of wealthy people and the rest (Swift: a thousand to one). The latter were struggling for sheer survival and praying 'Give me not Poverty, lest I steal' ... to be hanged: 'If I swing by the String, I shall hear the Bell ring, and then there's an End of poor Jenny.'
But both classes intermingled.
As E.J. Burford quotes in his masterful book 'The Synfull Citie':
Those who were riche were hangid by the Pursse
Those who were poore were hangid by the Necke
Defoe's Moll Flanders: 'the passive Jade thinks of no Pleasure but the Money; and when he is as it were drunk in the Extasies of his wicked Pleasure, her Hands are in his Pockets.'
Defoe paints the poor's religion as fatalism. Moll Flanders is all the time reproaching herself her Course of life, 'a horrid Complication of Wickedness, Whoredom, Adultery, Incest, Lying, Theft', but in the face of death at the gallows, 'I had now neither Remorse or Repentance ... no Thought of Heaven or Hell ... I neither had a Heart to ask God's Mercy.'
Defoe's work is eminently modern, with his psychological insight 'What a Felicity is it to Mankind that they cannot see into the Hearts of one another', and 'Modest men are better Hypocrites';
or, the ravages of alcoholism: 'the Drunk are the Men whom Solomon says, they go like an Ox to the Slaughter, till a Dart strikes through their Liver';
and his feminism: 'the Disadvantage of the Women is a terrible Scandal upon Men', and 'Money only made a Woman agreeable.'
Defoe's appeal to the reader - 'every Branch of my Story may be useful to honest People' - seems to be a smokescreen to circumvent censorship, because ultimately Moll Flanders prospers. This book is a perfect illustration of Bernard
Mandeville's 'Triumph of Private Vices' in his 'Fable of the Bees'.
Although some developments in this story are rather improbable, this superbly ironic and lively text constitutes an immortal portrait of the 'horrid Complication' to be a woman, here personified in Moll Flanders.
Not to be missed.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Reads Like a Legal Deposition, 28 July 2010
This review is from: Moll Flanders (Paperback)
This is an extraordinary characterisation of a tough-minded woman making difficult and often flawed choices as she moves through a rags to riches story; unfortunately told as if it were a legal deposition making it overly detailed and dry despite the subject matter. Nonetheless, a remarkable book for its period.

The sub title of the book is "The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders, Etc. Who was born in Newgate, and during a life of continu'd Variety for Threescore Years, besides her Childhood, was Twelve Year a Whore, five times a Wife (whereof once to her own brother), Twelve Year a Thief, Eight Year a Transported Felon in Virginia, at last grew Rich, liv'd Honest and died a Penitent. Written from her own Memorandums." And that's a pretty good summary of the plot.

Moll Flanders is a composite character who couldn't possibly have had all of the adventures and experiences that she goes through in the novel. She is based on Defoe's own experiences at the lower edges of London Society, including two stretches in prison. Moll is born in gaol to a mother who has been convicted of a felony and transported to America. Moll is left behind in London to survive on charity. Learning some social skills she is taken into a middle class family where her teenage good looks bring her to the attention of first one of the sons (Lover No.1 or, in Moll's eye's, Husband No. 1) and then the other (Husband No. 2), whom she marries. So is set the tone of the book, where Moll is set a series of moral dilemmas with limited room for manoeuvre and has to square the alternatives of behaving basely against survival. She remarries when husband No 2 dies only to have No 3 run off. Faced with starvation, she hitches up to No 4 despite now being a bigamist in the eyes of the law. They move to America where she discovers that she has married and had children by her own brother and so she flees back to England where she has another affair (No. 5), and then marries No 6 - a con artist after Moll's money - but they have fooled each other since both are paupers. Despite this they fall in love but agree to separate and Moll marries (No. 7) a bank clerk who dies and leaves her penniless again. She then takes to a life of crime, becoming the most successful petty thief of her day. Eventually the law catches up with her and in prison is reunited with her con-man husband. Both are deported to America where they become rich and successful and Moll meets her son. Phew!

As you see, my count is seven husbands not five as in the introduction, but Moll herself counts her two affairs as marriage whilst Defoe apparently does not - go figure.

This is all described in minute detail and each of her dilemmas is explored and explained by Moll at great length. She is not a moral character and her reasoning is frequently about money or survival - Defoe keeps up a running commentary about how much cash Moll has at any time. She has plenty of opportunities to get back on the straight and narrow but misses them all until in prison she repents of her past deeds. Defoe isn't trying to be moral but is explaining how difficult it is for poor people to behave well if survival means they need to behave badly. There is no narrator's voice giving an opinion and the book is written as if it were a legal deposition, micro-analysing each of the scrapes and problems Moll goes through. This slows the pace and makes the work rather dry.

If you are a writer then Moll is an interesting experiment - a strong, early 18th century woman who is determined to survive at any cost. If you are a reader then the book drags somewhat so that this becomes an interesting history lesson but, despite the huge numbers of adventures, ends up a little turgid.
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4.0 out of 5 stars getting to know Moll Flanders, 18 Jun. 2010
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This review is from: Moll Flanders (Paperback)
After a bit of a slow start with this book, partly due to its style and partly due to my not giving it the 100% attention it deserves! I gradually grew to enjoy this womans escapades and although the author has given the full details of her criminal activities, I still warmed to Moll.I admired her determination to survive against all the misfortunes thrown at her. Throughout the book I recognised the good hearted and decent woman she was at heart. It illustrated how the happy life of a woman can change into a sruggle by no fault of her own and the guile required to adapt. I would also applaud the book for it's historical and detailed references to life, especially in the city of London for the low classes.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I really enjoyed this., 27 Oct. 2012
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I've read the book, watched the TV series and listened to this audio adaptation. If you love a good period drama (and I'm a great lover) then you will love this. It has a sweet slice of everything, love, hate, intrigue, sex, tragedy and happy times. Moll, the main character, works her way through the trials and tribulations, as only a woman could in those days could. It was written in the style of a memoir and at the time people believed it to be fact, not fiction. However, I'm sure it was based on a great many women's lives in that day!
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21 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb! This book exceeded all of my expectations!, 29 Jan. 1998
By A Customer
I had known of this book for years, but never picked it up because of what I thought that I knew about DeFoe's writing. The day I did, however, I was shocked to find a timely, vivid, and extremely compelling novel.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An hilarious novel, but..., 1 Oct. 2011
This review is from: Moll Flanders (Paperback)
This truly is an hilarious novel, but the copy I ordered was substantially more worn than the seller described. None the less, I would recommend the book!
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Moll Flanders (Wordsworth Classics)
Moll Flanders (Wordsworth Classics) by Daniel Defoe (Paperback - 5 Oct. 1993)
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