Far from the Maddening Crowd.

Friday, June 19, 2009

It's been a very long time since my last book review.

And this particular book has been sitting on my side bar for a long time.

But, okay, here's the confession...

I didn't read it.

I tried. I really did. The title, Far from the Maddening Crowd, just sounds so intriguing and appealing. It was another 1800s English literature book, which I usually just love.

So I really did try.

But I was only able to get about 5 chapters in before I called it quits. Which makes this book only the second book that I have started to read and not finished. The other book is Lord Jim, by Joseph Conrad. I still plan on reading that book, mostly because I loved Heart of Darkness so much. But when I started reading Lord Jim was in the middle of my clinicals during third year of medical school, and I did not have enough reserve brain power to devote to the book at the time.

But I digress.

Why did I not continue to read this book?

Because it was the most tedious thing I have ever tried to read.

Long, drawn-out descriptions of dogs, or farming, or tools. Pages upon pages of conversations at taverns. With so little character and plot development by chapter 5 I just couldn't take it anymore.

It had none of the appeal and entertainment of Austen, or moodiness of Bronte, or wit of Dickens.

Plus, it also had a chauvinistic thread through it that grated on my nerves.

I'm sure that there is someone out there that has read this book. And possibly even liked it. If you know of a reason I should pick this book back up and finish it, let me know.


Karen said...

I've had a book or two that I just couldn't get through.

The biggest one for me was A Prayer for Owen Meany. It was the most tedious and boring book I've ever tried to read. I still tell myself sometimes that I'll go back and finish it, but I know I never will.

I LOVE that you are starting on the Harry Potter series (I'm assuming again??). Even though they go through entire school years, I've never read a book that I more closely associated with summer reading.

Jessie said...

The trouble with Thomas Hardy is that he originally wrote his books in installments, published over time in magazines or newspapers or whatever. Far from the Maddening Crowd is no different. Hardy tends to have many characters, and lots going on within each chapter, because of this--he had to keep his readers interested for a long period of time, keep them coming back for more. It reminds me a little bit of a soap opera in this way--lots of characters and introduction to start, then tons of plot twists and turns and character development as you get farther in, to keep you interested to the end. We read Mayor of Casterbridge back in high school, and I loved it, but I think mostly it was because the teacher broke it up into the "installments," so we weren't trying to read so much of it at once.

I think Hardy writes a very interesting story, it just takes a lot of time to get through it all, because of the way he wrote it. I know that it took some time to get into Mayor, but it ended up being one of my favorite books we read, once I got into it. I'm not saying you have to finish this book, (not by any means!) but I do think reading it while keeping in mind how he meant for it to be read might help--just a thought. Good luck, and happy reading!