Customer Reviews for

Tess of the d'Urbervilles

Average Rating 4
( 77 )
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5 Star

(40)

4 Star

(13)

3 Star

(9)

2 Star

(6)

1 Star

(9)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

Tragically Wonderful

Tess is one of the more depressive novels I've read lately. My wife will attest to the fact that I have a strange affinity to depressing stories. With that in mind, let me say that I really enjoyed this book.

The writing was at times a bit too much for me for the re...
Tess is one of the more depressive novels I've read lately. My wife will attest to the fact that I have a strange affinity to depressing stories. With that in mind, let me say that I really enjoyed this book.

The writing was at times a bit too much for me for the reason that I get annoyed at many 18th and 19th century novels...namely, that Hardy focuses far too much on minute descriptions and in-depth analysis of setting and location. Don't get me wrong, I love a vivid and lush environment and I much prefer a fleshed out character to a flat one. I just sometimes feel that all of the flowery descriptions slow down the story telling element too much. There were a few paragraphs/pages that I tried to skim through in order to get to the next relevant points of plot. Still, I don't know that I'd want to edit out the descriptive text since it does comment on the narrative itself in a metafictional sort of way.

The main characters in this book are wonderfully composed. They are absolutely and completely frustrating but they are superbly crafted nonetheless. I wanted to smack each of the main characters on many occasions.

Tess is far too willing to simply be acted upon and then to bemoan her fate. Alec is an absolute pig (although towards the end of our experience with him, it's debatable just how awful he truly is). And Angel is far too inconsistent to be liked at all...at first he seems almost lovable...then he deserves to be hated...then he seems slightly adequate...then he becomes repulsive again...he's just far too wishy-washy in his behavior and ideals to ever be fully redeemable.

The story itself falls into the realm of realism taken to its extreme. The plot elements felt almost like the Bible story of Job...whatever could go wrong willgo wrong. And even though Tess was generally found to be almost whining about her circumstances rather than trying to make things better for herself, the story was still rather thought provoking since it makes you wonder just how you would handle horrific circumstances and what can truly be done about them. Is it better to try and solve the problem or better to just let fate and happenstance take its toll.

Personally, I try to make the best out of any bad situation...perhaps that's why I like "depressing" stories...they make me realize my life could be worse and they help inspire me to always think of the best possible outcome.

I'm sure this book won't be for everyone. Those who want a happy fairy-tale romp through a girl's life would do better to stay away. Those who are easily frustrated by fallen characters, will find themselves hating all of the primary roles in this book. The book isn't terribly lengthy (~300-400?) but some of the longer descriptive passages do crawl by at times.

Still, I whole-heartedly recommend this book to those who are willing to look imperfection and awful situations square in the face and come away smiling. It's not a happy book. It's not a terribly fast past book (which can also be frustrating...I wanted to shout Just do it to Tess many times).

But it is a wonderfully rich book and definitely worth getting into.

posted by theokester on June 15, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

This book sucks

This book is so hard to read. I have to read it for my high school English class and the dialect is crazy. It is so difficult! I mean, not to spoil it for anyone or anything, but I didn't even realize that she was raped. Really and truly, no idea. If you are going ...
This book is so hard to read. I have to read it for my high school English class and the dialect is crazy. It is so difficult! I mean, not to spoil it for anyone or anything, but I didn't even realize that she was raped. Really and truly, no idea. If you are going for a book that is not hard to understand and that is enjoyable, I'm sorry to say, but do not go for this book. Have a great life everyone! ~Krysti

posted by Anonymous on December 15, 1999

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2001

    never read this book!

    This book was very terrible. there is nothing even close to appealing in this book. The dialect is absolutely impossible to understand. It is the most difficult book i've ever had to read and I would never read this book again. Please don't read it, you're doing yourself a favour, trust me!!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 1999

    This book sucks

    This book is so hard to read. I have to read it for my high school English class and the dialect is crazy. It is so difficult! I mean, not to spoil it for anyone or anything, but I didn't even realize that she was raped. Really and truly, no idea. If you are going for a book that is not hard to understand and that is enjoyable, I'm sorry to say, but do not go for this book. Have a great life everyone! ~Krysti

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2005

    Extremely Boring

    This has got to be one of the most disappionting books that I have ever read. First of all the topic or focus of the book is very loose so the book is hard to follow and you can easily get side tracked. The over all writing style is the main problem of the book though. The writing style is more like a text book than an actual story so it almost seems like a chor to read it. However the over all idea is okay because Tess's charecter does have many emossional complexities and has to face many emossional challenges. It is interesting to see how her relationship with men can change when she lets her history or past get the best of her. The idea for this book was not bad but the whole writing style seemed very uninspired. I can see why this was Hardy's last book, people got sick of his boring writing style!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 23, 2000

    Don't Waste Your Time!

    This was absolutely the worst book I have ever read. There is nothing in this book that is even close to being worthwhile, not language, not emotion, not likeable characters, nothing. If you feeling like numbing your brain and lowering your intellegence, go ahead and read it. But for anyone who values their sanity, find another book, please.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2009

    One of the worst books ever written

    I absolutely abhor this book. The first time I was forced to read this book was in middle school. From the very first page to the last, I found myself hating the main characters more and more. I loathe, despise, and abominate this book. I have no sympathy for any of the characters. There are only a few other books that rival this one in terms of being badly written "literature." They are "Twilight" (really, any book in that series was terrible), "Moll Flanders," and "Wuthering Heights." As much as I hated the characters in this book, a million times more did I hate Catherine and Heathcliff. I wanted them both to die early on and stop depressing me with their whiny stories. Classics? I think not!

    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 12, 2014

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    Posted April 20, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 19, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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