When I posted my reading challenge, I had one friend comment and say that this was the hardest one, because he apparently has never left a book unfinished. I, on the other hand, had an abundance of possible books to use here. Because I have a horrible habit of starting a book, then putting it aside and picking up something else instead. By the time the library due date is upon me, I’ve barely made any progress at all.
However, at the beginning of the year I started Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy, and midway through the year a friend did a project on it and was aghast when I mentioned I hadn’t finished the book. She insisted I simply had to make sure to finish reading. So, in order to keep my word to her, I decided to make this my choice.
This classic novel follows the story of an impoverished girl named Tess Durbeyfield whose father hears a rumor that they may be connected to an old family known as the D’Urbervilles. Hoping to gain some fortune, her family sends her off to meet with her cousin Alec, who ends up being more horrible than Tess could have anticipated. She leaves his home with a dark and terrible secret, one she has to decide if she will later reveal to the man she loves.
It’s hard to tell the plot without giving spoilers, but that was my best attempt. My over all impression of it is that it’s well-deserving of its famed status. It has good (although certainly old-fashioned) writing, and the story is definitely an interesting and complex one. It deals with women’s roles of the time and questions issues with the church and religion in general, so thematically it has some strong ideas to it too. It definitely took more work than some of the other books I’ve read lately, but sometimes it’s good to challenge oneself a little. There were definitely some plot points that surprised me though, and I’ll give the warning that the story is pretty sad. But if you’ve liked other 19th century novels, I’d try this one and see what you think.
Who else has a problem finishing books you’ve started? Please tell me I’m not the only one with this bad habit. Do you enjoy reading classics? Or do you have the same problems I do?