Tag Archives: Book Review

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.

The Memory Keeper’s Daughter, by Kim Edwards

I just finished The Memory Keeper’s Daughter, by Kim Edwards. A doctor, unable to get his wife to a hospital during a very bad snow storm ends up delivering his own twins. The doctor realizes that one twin has Downs and the other baby appears to be normal. He gives the baby to his nurse so she can take the child to a “home” but the nurse decides (last minute) to raise the child as her own. The doctor’s wife is told that the child died after birth.

The rest of the story deals with secret that the father holds, and how that secret affects his family, as well as the nurse that ends up raising his daughter. It’s a sad story about grief and loss and although some of it is written in a very touching way, many of the characters seem too horrible, or too good. I watched the TV version of this on Lifetime after finishing the book and the TV version did a much better job of portraying pain and loss within the characters. Also, the nurse is played by Emily Watson and she is always so fantastic to watch.

Overall, it was an interesting premise but the book fell a bit short for me.

Ti