Tag Archives: Book Club

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.

A Long Way Gone, by Ishmael Beah

I just finished A Long Way Gone, by Ishmael Beah. War memoirs are not my cup of tea, but since my book group chose it.. I felt obligated to give it a shot. The first half of the book is very readable, given its grim subject matter.

The story is about a boy soldier in Sierra Leone. After losing his family in a bloody civil war.. Ishmael is recruited as a soldier to fight the opposition. His daily existence consists of violence and drugs and the distant hope that the war will end. I was moved by this part of his life. So young, yet forced to endure such hard conditions. Hard to imagine really.

The second half of the book felt “tacked on”. Ishmael is chosen to be rehabilitated and moved to a home. There he undergoes detox and daily visits with various medical professionals. I was very happy to see an end to the violence, at least in his case.. but the shift was so abrupt that I found it hard to follow. I felt that he had more to say, but chose not to say it.

Not one of my faves as far as memoirs go. We’ll see what kind of discussion it generates this Thursday.