I thoroughly enjoyed this one too!
As I progress through this 100 Book Challenge I’m loving books more and more. Am I becoming the more discerning reader? Perhaps. I find I’m worrying less about how many pages I have to go and I simply enjoy the ride.
Far from the Madding Crowd was full of love- and hate-able characters, countryside that felt like home (my parents were born in England and so many of my family’s stories involve adventures in the south), and short, engaging chapters where there’s always something happening.
And once again, just like every other classic book from more than a century ago, I was reminded that human nature has not changed one bit.
[Spoiler alert – if you are planning on reading this book, you might like to skip the next few paragraphs]
The main character, Bathsheba, is a strong independent female who runs a farm and manages a large staff of men who are not used to being ordered by a woman. But she handles it well and easily earns their respect. The thing that shocked me, was how quickly she gave up this role when she got married, and how her husband instantly became the master of the farm
When I read the chapters following her marriage, I remember noting how things have come a long way from then, and how today it would never be expected or assumed that a woman would give up work after she was married. Then, the very week in December that I finished reading Far from the Madding Crowd, I was at the doctors with my daughter. The doctor casually asked me: ‘Is your husband having any time off work for Christmas?’
There was no asking about whether I would be having time off, and no interest in whether I was working at all. I was quite shocked by the question and didn’t know how to answer.
So there it is: 148 years on and I am no different from dear old Bathsheba at Weatherbury.
[Spoiler over now]
I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I’d never heard of Thomas Hardy before picking up this book. He appears three times on my 100 Book Challenge list (the other two Jude the Obscure and Tess of the D’Urbervilles) and I can’t wait to get stuck in to them.
Which out of Jude or Tess should I tackle next?
In July 2014 I set myself the challenge to finish 100 must-read books before I die. For my ongoing tally click here.Follow @jessieansons