Have safe travels, wonderful times, and Merry Christmas.
Yes. This book has now hit my Will Not Read shelf. For classics that I'm iffy about I sometimes use the movies to "screen" them. The plan is if I like the movie after I've "screened" it, then I'll promptly move onto the book. If it fails, normally I don't bother ever mentioning it. The book is never added to my shelves and I forget it.
Well this was a HUGE fail for me. So I can't just let it be. Nope. Nope. Far from the Madding Crowd made me feel all right. Every time I see the title this is how I read it now: Far from the Maddening Crowd. Because well, it makes me mad. (Yeah, it's kind of silly.)
Firstly the lead. This book was published 1874 and at the time I'm pretty sure was a bold choice for a female lead. She's supposed to be strong minded and independent. Fully believing that she doesn't need a husband. The reason I wanted to read it was that I was told she was an unconventional lead for classics and was a must read. Yeah for that, however she quickly become everything I hate in female lead.
- She totally played the men. No really. She liked the first guy, but stilts him. (Come on she even know she liked him.) Then rights a "joking valentine" to a really nice man and basically leads him on. While, like he says, she never did promise him a thing. (Then of course he becomes crazy obsessed with her.) I'm going to leave the third and last guy off the list for another number.
- She's so full of herself that she makes stupid choices, and even while graveling I don't think she's learned! I still want to punch her.
- Enter third man. The guy straight up is reeling her in, and asks for a secret rendezvous in the woods. To which he endangers her after lying, then kisses, and disgustingly gropes her. He is the one guy that treats her like shit straight up front!
- She fails into trappings of lust that she has preached she will never do. She has plenty of warning, even from the first guy (mentioned in 1.) who has done nothing but help her and try to do right by her. (He's amazing, but becomes stupid)
- Despite it all she still goes with lust and basically becomes ruined.
- She lands on her feet, probably do to the poor first guy who remains by her side through it all.
I'll admit she kept some of her fire with her loser husband. Though I'd respect her more if she took him out back the shed and ended him herself. Holy, cow. The fact that she didn't even pause to think that by marrying him he would, in society, have her power. She threw it all away for lust!!!!!!
The horrid plot twist was bad not to mention how it all goes down. *sighs* Sure she gets her happy ending, but by then I have very little respect for the amazing first guy. Who is basically the nice guy, the right guy. He's watched as she did all this without ever trying to woo her again. He respects her exactly how she asked, yet he should have said "I'm putting my heart out her once more, and if you don't love me I'm moving on." Not pine after her forever and then when you finally go to move on have her come running. He knew her well, he wanted to suffer!
Overall I could rant about numerous points of how much I hated this. This may be the beginning of cliché historical romances. (Though it was current at the time.) From reviews, and googling, I've discovered that the movie is pretty similar to the book. I disliked the main lead so much and couldn't respect her. By the end of the movie I didn't like the first guy who I should have been rooting for. Because when they finally get their HEA I was more, "you deserve each other you idiots" than feeling the love.
One of the few times where the move of a classic book saved me from a read I would have hated. Thank you, you boring and frustrating movie. Thank you.
Side note: The movie is stunning and lovely. Oh, and then men ain't to bad either. Man, oh, man is Matthias Schoenaerts dreamy as heck! Of course Michael Sheen is simply lovely in his period getup. (Still one of my favorite on screen werewolves.) Despite not liking the character Carey Mulligan plays, she's still a delight to watch on screen.
Oh, and I am totally calling out that whole kiss scene that was a rip off of Pride and Prejudice from 2005. Cheap.