Bridges of Madison County: Romance makes me a bad judge of novels

It took my book club people expressing total surprise that I liked Bridges of Madison County for me to reflect on why I liked it. I kept saying ‘but it’s good writing’ and they were like… no. They read a few passages out loud. They reminded me of the repeated references to peregrines and the representation of men as total wood-smoke masculinity. And I blushed. They were right. The writing is excessive. The representation of masculinity is problematic. The commitment to soul-mate-love is unbelievable.

And yet.

I liked it. I liked the frame narrative and its efficacy in trapping me into believing the reality of the fiction. I liked the romance of the relationship with its intensity and improbability and sacrifice. I recognized the limitations of this romance – of course any relationship that lasts for a week can be idealized for the rest of your life, you never have to deal with mortgage payments or diapers or redistributing emotional labour – but still found it compelling and heartbreaking.

So yeah. It’s problematic and not brilliant writing. And I still liked it. Plus it took like ten minutes to read, so there’s that.

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1 Comment

Filed under American literature, Bestseller, Fiction

One response to “Bridges of Madison County: Romance makes me a bad judge of novels

  1. I recently read this too -not sure how I found it since I usually rely on this blog to direct me reading. I thought, to paraphrase others, that one needed a heart of stone not to laugh at it….. but that no doubt reflects more on me than you! I’m glad I read it, but it won’t be on my list of favourite books.

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