NOTICE: (Updated March 5, 2010)

Beginning December 19, 2009, Books 'N Border Collies will be posting but only intermittently while I pursue personal goals. I plan to share some reading I'm doing, but there will be no reviews. I will, however, be sharing my exploration of vegetarian cooking and the cookbooks and websites I use to educate myself. I hope you enjoy it!

Lezlie



Sunday, January 11, 2009

JUDE THE OBSCURE

by Thomas Hardy



Jude Fawley dreams of becoming a scholar, but the detours and prejudices of life take him down a very different path.

I expected Jude the Obscure to be tragic, but holy cow! And can a person, with his or her modern sensibilities, read this without wanting to slap Jude and Sue silly? The trashy, self-serving Arabella ironically seems the most reasonable person of them all.

That makes it sound like I didn't like the book, but that is not so. Setting those initial snarky observations aside, the book was infectious. I didn't enjoy it in a, "Wow! This is so good!" manner. It was more of a, "Wow. I've done things just that stupid" manner. I could see a younger me in the angst and unrequited "love", in the grandiose dreams and seemingly unforgiving reality. While I didn't get sentimental about any of the characters, their trials still got under my skin and I felt sorry for them. And I'm really glad I got at least a little smarter with age. ;-)



10 comments:

Rose City Reader said...

Hardy is also on my radar these days as part of my 19th Century interest. I read The Mayor of Castorbridge last year. I read Jude in college, so I think I'll go for another one in 2009.

I actually stopped by to say that I named you for the Premios Dardo Award! See here for details.

Michele at Reader's Respite said...

I've read quite a bit of Hardy, but not this one. Now you've made me want to go out and find a copy of this!

Literary Feline said...

What a great review! I loved your insights into this one, Lezlie. :-) I am not familiar with this book but I might have to give it a try just to see what it was you were talking about. :-)

BooksPlease said...

I had the same reaction to Jude and Sue - it just wouldn't happen these days - would it???

Lezlie said...

Rose City Reader ~ Thank you so much for the award!

Michele ~ Any recommendations for my next Hardy book? Many look interesting!

Literary Feline ~ Thank you! It's kind of an odd book seen from our point of view, but I can see how it raised quite a few eyebrows in its day. The book was actually burned by a bishop in 1895!

Books Please ~ Except maybe for the fact that Sue and Jude are first cousins (if I remember correctly), that relationship wouldn't even be noticed by most people. I can't imagine living in a society where unmarried couples were treated so poorly. But I suppose those beliefs are still out there in some places.

Lezlie

Amanda said...

Good review! I too wanted to slap some people in the book. :) It was such a struggle between loving and hating the book. Thanks for the review!

Andi said...

This cracked me up:

It was more of a, "Wow. I've done things just that stupid" manner.

Me too! I have this one on the stacks already. Thanks for the encouragement. I think I'll like it!

Lezlie said...

Thanks, Amanda! Yeah, there were a lot of people in there who could have used it. :-) I, too, went back and fourth with what I thought, but ultimately I really did like it. It was just that the dramatics got on my nerves periodically. Especially Sue!

Andi ~ It was the only way I could think of to describe it. :-)

Lezlie

Ladytink_534 said...

I think I saw part of the movie based on this book before (Kate Winslet is in it).

Lezlie said...

Ladytink ~ I didn't know there was a movie of this. It's probably good!

Lezlie