Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
Every time the main character’s radiant beauty was described I pictured a resilient, independent, hardworking woman that took over the farm instead of settling for any suitor that fell for her pretty face.
Then the image left my mind when I would see references to her first name “Bathsheba” and I’d stumble (mentally) through the pronunciation and trying to remind myself SHE is that beautiful woman.
For whatever strange reason, my brain simply couldn’t hold on to that name or make it flow as I read the story. “Miss Everdene” sounded youthful and pleasant but I kept having to sound out “Bathsheba” as it is not a common name or easy on my eyes. It made me think of an old spinster with graying hair and thickening waist!
I prepared myself to focus on reading – some stories from the early 19th century take more focus with outdated writing styles or dialogue than the simple modern prose we become so used to. The first 70 pages took a while to “hook the reader” as I settled into the author’s style and world he was creating.
The last 200 pages I could not put the book down and I was fully invested. Bathsheba reminded me of a spoiled vain brat but I slowly started to have empathy for her terrible decisions since she did not have any guidance while trying to run a large farm and her young personal life with suitors. Surprisingly, I predicted the ending perfectly – although with these classic love stories the chosen suitor is always the first one women turn away!
Disappointed it took me so many years to finally sit down and delve into it but I will be recommending to my peers that it is well worth it – seeing as how I liked it much more than the Pulitzer Prize book Olive Kitteridge!