Category Archives: Book Review

Prodigal Summer, by Barbara Kingsolver

I just finished Prodigal Summer, by Barbara Kingsolver. I picked this book up twice and put it right back down again. However, the third time around I made a pact with myself to stick with it..no matter what. I am so glad I did! In hindsight, I have no idea why I had such a hard time with it the first two times. Here is the blurb from Barnes & Noble:

Over the course of one humid summer, as the urge to procreate overtakes the countryside, these characters find their connections to one another and to the flora and fauna with whom they share a place.

Rich and lush. Those are the two words that come to mind. The book takes us through three, interwoven stories about nature and love. We meet a ranger whose main task is to protect a mountain and the conflict between her and the hunter that threatens it. We also meet a young woman, overcome with grief, and how she struggles to make a life for herself on a farm. The last couple, consist of two elderly neighbors. Each trying to co-exist on their land that sits right next to each other.

There are some tender moments.. and a lot of funny ones. I found myself re-reading certain passages because they were written so beautifully. This would be a great book to kick-off summer. If you read it..let me know what you think of it.

Madame Bovary, by Gustave Flaubert

The June selection for my book group is Madame Bovary, by Gustave Flaubert. It’s the story of Emma and Charles Bovary and Emma’s adulterous affair with Rodolphe. Very controversial for its time (mid-nineteenth century). Although Charles could be considered a good man, Emma finds him extremely dull and oblivious to her wants or needs. She spends her days dreaming of a different life, one without Charles. For awhile, the birth of her daughter keeps her occupied, but she never bonds with the child and finds the child to be a sore reminder of her failed marriage to Charles.

In comes Rodolphe. To Emma, Rodolphe is everything that Charles is not. We see Rodolphe completely taken with Emma’s beauty, yet when Emma has decided that she is ready to leave her bourgeois life, including her own daughter, Rodolphe has a change of heart.

Although Emma’s character is a bit flighty and exceedingly dramatic at times, the reader can relate to her everyday struggles of being married to an “ordinary” man and always wanting more. I think the translation of the book is important as the copy that I picked up did not flow as well as I believe it should have, but I am chalking that up entirely to the translation. Overall I enjoyed the book, but I found myself skimming quite a bit towards the end. I am anxious to see what my book group says about it.