11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
A thoroughly enjoyed read..,
This review is from: Madame Bovary: A Story of Provincial Life (Penguin Popular Classics) (Paperback)
I throughly enjoyed this work which I found both thought provoking and highly entertaining.
It quickly dawned on me that this was no ordinary 'intelligent woman struggling against bigoted times' novel but one that went much deeper than conventional works. I loved the fact that Emma far from being an ideolised good natured heroine was in fact a selfish, sensual and self-centred women with destructive tendencies. It made her much easier to relate to! Despite the fact that she really is a very unpleasant character there was something about her that I found really appealing. Perhaps it was the way that she increasingly gave into her every desire and expressed the disatisfaction that we all often feel with life but fail to show.
Emma seemed to me so very real with her constant search throughout the novel for an elusive ideal of happiness. One she trys to find in her quest for material goods, her love affairs and her brief religious devotion. Many of her passions are shown to be unltimately shallow and without any real substance - in particular her supposed religious extremisim which is quickly forgotten upon meeting with Leon again - her second lover. I found this portrayal to be an honest and reflective account of her search for happiness and her inability to find happiness in any of the aspects of her life.
I felt very strongly that one of the novel's great strengths was the way the character traits of all the other characters contrast with the heroine. From the wonderful portrayl of the arrogant, boastful Homais who's pompus unbearable arrogance and complete lack of self-awareness highlight the frustrations of Emma's life, to Charles her devoted, kind and good husband who is utterly unsuited to Emma and who by being her complete opposite highlights the destrution of Emma's nature.
There are no hero's in the book and I found that its honest portrayal of the frustrations and passions of life just as relevant today as 150 years ago.