Emma Bovary is a hard character to like and barrack for. From today's standards, she comes across as a cheating, spoilt, ungrateful brat who squanders her life, her family and in the end, her self respect. But I think Flaubert does this deliberately, possibly partly from his clear disdain of marriage, but also as a comment on the times- women have few rights, men seem to have few moral obligations in 18th century France, obsession with appearance and "being bourgeois" often dominates people's actions and lives much to their detriment. Emma Bovary is described as being quixotic in nature by some, I disagree. Her story is not one of fantasy, one of valour, or bravery. Emma Bovary is a tragedy, as a wife, mother, and eventually as a human being. She becomes a victim of her circumstances and her vanities and spirals out of control. I think Tolstoy might have pinched a little bit of Emma and put her into Anna Karenina! This is a good read, it takes a bit to sink in, but I think it's an important book as for me Emma Bovary is the precursor to many of the classic tragic female characters in great world literature, all of whom have an important story to tell in our journey for women to be true equals in society.
Jamie the armchair book critic