Review From User :
This was just so good.
"Sheep are such unfortunate animals! - there's always something happening to them! I never knew a flock pass a year without getting into some scrape or other."
I love sheep :) They are so cute! But sheep are actually not the reason why I love this book so much. That would be silly. But I do love the fact that Gabriel Oak was a shepherd, and not say, a pig farmer. Anyways! Even though this story takes place in rural Wessex and is filled with sheep and fields and moonlit nights and beautiful descriptions, there is a lot more to it than just animals and landscapes. Far From the Madding Crowd is the poignant, moving and brilliant story of Bathsheba Everdene and her three suitors.
"Love is a possible strength in an actual weakness."
Bathsheba Everdene; strong, wilful, independent and, above all, beautiful, Bathsheba is a woman ahead of her time. She doesn't shy away from work, she is courageous, intrepid and cannot be tamed. I read a lot of romances in which the heroines do nothing more than sip afternoon tea while entertaining callers, and attend balls and soirees and drink the waters in Bath. But here, we have a heroine who can do it, who is a farmer and takes on a lot of duties. She starts out as her own bailiff, superintends and manages everything, and boldly enters the world of market, a world of men. Bathsheba is unique and attractive, and she turned every man's head.
"She was of the stuff of which great men's mothers are made. She was indispensable to high generation, hated at tea parties, feared in shops, and loved at crises."
Enter Suitor #1!
Gabriel Oak. What a man. I'm completely head over heels in love with him!
"I shall do one thing in this life - one thing certain - that is, love you, and long for you, and keep wanting you till I die."
Gabriel is the kind of man you feel completely safe and secure around. He's the type who cherishes and protects those he loves (sheep or otherwise :P)and he's always there to save the day (I lost count of how many times he did it during the course of the novel), counsel, or simply to lend a should to cry on. He is so reliable, honest and trustful that one can tell him anything, and confide any secret to him; he's sure to keep it and give you good advice. Oak has moreover incredible self-control. He's not a man you need to fear. If you tell him you don't want to marry him, he sucks it up and humbly accepts it even though he may be hopelessly in love with you, and will never bother you with advances and declarations again, unless you hint that you are ready to welcome them.
Gabriel is also the kind of employee that every employer wants. He is serious, hard-working, always alert, and extremely helpful. He's constantly going the extra length to make sure that everything is running smoothly on the farm, and that all is well and working. He falls in love with Bathsheba early on, so early in fact that it is difficult to figure out what he sees in her to make him love her so. Being poor, he has nothing to offer her save his love and all his wonderful qualities, but unfortunately that is not enough for Miss-Stubborn-Bathsheba-Everdene.
So, enter Suitor #2!
William Boldwood. Possesses most of the qualities listed above, plus money and property! Should be good enough for you this time, Bathsheba, eh
"'My life is a burden without you', he exclaimed, in a low voice. 'I want you - I want you to let me say I love you again and again!'"
Mr. Boldwood starts out as the epitome of thriving bachelorhood. He presents the picture of a hard-working, serious and brooding man who is quite happy living and working alone, and who hasn't wasted a thought on women and marriage in years. No woman, no troubles, no drama. Everything is going really well for him, and he did sound like a very good man; poised, composed, upright principles, good ways of living, etc...In short, he's quite a catch, and any woman who married him would be assured protection, security, and a good position...and undying passion
With Boldwood, it's all or nothing. Either he doesn't give any woman a thought, or he will give one woman all his thoughts. And the lucky girl is...Bathsheba Everdene! Wee! Brace yourselves, because Boldwood is as stubborn as Bathsheba and about to make a complete cake of himself by not being able to take no for an answer. He probably proposes over fifty times during the course of the novel. Not a good sign.
"It was a fatal omission of Boldwood's that he had never once told her she was beautiful."
Cue Suitor #3!
Sergeant Francis Troy. No good qualities (okay, maybe a few), no money, no position, no house, BUT...GOOD LOOKS AND SENSUALITY! HELL YES!!!
"'I've seen a good many women in my time, [..] but I've never seen a woman so beautiful as you.'"
Sergeant Troy is the handsome, seductive rake who has no morals and no apparent life purpose. The past and the future mean nothing to him. He is careless, impulsive, rash and a complete asshole. But he is charming and tantalizing to a fault, and knows only too well how to infiltrate himself into women's lives. When the lovely Bathsheba catches his eye, he becomes caught in the moment and would give anything to win her...but does he love her And, more importantly, does she love him
Alas, her vanity has at last been flattered!
"When a strong woman recklessly throws away her strength she is worse than a weak woman who has never had any strength to throw away."
Who doesn't love a good Victorian love-triangle! ;) Caught in the web of their own self-inflicted actions and the resulting consequences, these characters will have to go through a series of trials and events, happy and sad, trying and uplifting, before we come to a satisfactory conclusion. The story is written in an incredibly beautiful, flowing and passionate way, full of quotable parts (as we can observe since I can't seem to stop quoting!) and extraordinary descriptions. I enjoyed every single minute I spent reading this novel. And I also learned a lot of things, too.
Lessons to Remember From Far From the Madding Crowd:
*When you live in a hut and make a fire, always keep one window open unless you want to suffocate to death.
*Sheep, although very cute, are pretty dumb animals.
*Cover your ricks when it rains!!!!
*Sending a random Valentine to your elder bachelor neighbour is not exactly a good idea.
*Especially if said Valentine says "Marry Me" on the seal (why the heck did she have a seal that said 'marry me' in the first place anyways), and you have absolutely no intention of ever marrying that man for real.
*Sheep can die from eating clover (and only a certain capable, skillful, heart-melting shepherd can save them).
*Watch out when planting flowers around graves...
*Don't keep anything in your hands or close by when you go to a fair and are sitting next to the canvas (stealers, ya know!).
*Don't freaking trust bailiffs! Those guys are overrated. Be your own bailiff! Unless you can have Gabriel Oak. Always choose Gabriel if you can!
*DON'T LEAD MEN ON WHEN YOU HAVE NO INTENTION OF GETTING INTIMATE WITH THEM!!!
*Don't make promises/proposals or any other kind of rash demands on Christmas Eve/Christmas day, so as to not ruin your enjoyment of the holiday if it goes awry.
*Don't buy things for your future significant other in preparation for your hypothetical wedding (effin' weird, seriously!).
*Don't creep up during the night to ride your own horse if you weren't expected at home (stealers , ya know, again!).
*When you feel overwhelmed and completely distressed, spend the night in a marsh! The dense, stifling air will help clear your head.
*Don't keep your husband's ex-girlfriend's coffin inside your house. May cause serious breakdowns.
*And, last but not least, ALWAYS ASK ABOUT THEIR EXES!!!
Honestly though, on a scale of 1 to Mr. Boldwood, I have definitely reached his level of obsession with this book, and have spent the whole day repeatedly stating that I finished it, and it was so good, and I can't wait to see the movie, and ahhh!!!!!
I loved this. Every bit is delicious, from Gabriel's tender devotion to Boldwood's mad obsession and Troy's promising passion, along with Bathsheba's evolutions and strengths and weaknesses. Hardy was certainly one love expert. Wow.
And Wessex! I want to go there!
So beautiful :)
"What a way Oak had, she thought, of enduring things. Boldwood, who seemed so much deeper and higher and stronger in feeling than Gabriel, had not yet learnt, any more than she herself, the simple lesson which Oak showed a mastery of by every turn and look he gave - that among the multitude of interests by which he was surrounded, those which affected his personal well-being were not the most absorbing and important in his eyes."
*Sigh* That too, is beautiful. And it perfectly sums up the whole book (minus Troy's shenanigans). And it is why I love Gabriel so much.
Buddy read with Becca!! :D
by Thomas Hardy