The Book Mark

Books that make the grade.

Far From the Madding Crowd


The movie Far From The Madding Crowd (A+) adapted from the book by Thomas Hardy is in the theatre right now. Written in 1874 originally as short stories, Hardy revised them into his first successful novel. Though the language is very heavy, I inhaled every word. It is rich and luxurious like only a classic can be.

Bathsheba has come to manage her uncle’s farm after his death. She knows little if anything about sheep or farming but her fierce independent spirit fuels this undertaking. When she meets Gabriel Oaks; he is running his own successful sheep farm. He is attracted by her spirit and beauty and almost immediately decides he will marry her. She flatly refuses him declaring she will never marry. When disaster befalls him and he becomes a penniless rover, he abandons his pursuit of her because he fears it will appear he is after her money.

Bathsheba realizes she knows little about farming and less about men. She meets the neighboring farmer, Mr. Boldwood who, to her amazement, is totally unaffected by her charms. She recklessly sends him an anonymous Valentine that she ultimately will regret the rest of her life. So begins this powerful novel.

Far From the Madding Crowd is not for everyone. At times it is verbose and often a bit difficult to understand. The vernacular is old world and it takes some time for the reader to adapt. The dedicated reader will prevail and be happy to have met the challenge this book offers.

I understand the movie follows the book pretty well. I am now anxious to see it and I hope to do that soon because I am not quite ready to release Bathsheba and Gabriel. They have solidly gotten under my skin and into my head and will probably stay for a while.


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