Have you ever finished reading a book and wished you could go back in time and prevent yourself from ever reading it in the first place? A friend posted that question a while back and I thought it was an interesting one.
Flaubert’s Madam Bovary is definitely one such book for me. I read it in a “Reading the Classics” course for a creative writing program I was in and I can unequivocally state that I despised it. Considered Flaubert’s masterpiece, the story didn’t work for me because I found the characters to be so unlikable. Frankly, by the end of the story, I was actively rooting for them to get the unhappy endings they so richly deserved. I’ve read other books with unlikable characters, and I certainly don’t expect to like all of the characters in any story, but I do expect to be able to connect with or, at a minimum, sympathize with at least some of the characters. On the bright side, at least I didn’t have to slog through it in the original French. Continue reading