Customer Reviews for

Tess of the d'Urbervilles: A Pure Woman

Average Rating 4
( 77 )
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(40)

4 Star

(13)

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(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 October 14, 2012

    Could not keep me interested Did not have thevpatience to Did not have the patience to get to the end of this one by h Did not have the patience to complete.

    Was interested in the story until it took forever to be told. Tess could not walk a few feet without an overkill of scenery description. Got tired of skimming through these areas.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 11, 2007

    Very disappointing,

    As I was assigned to read a book for my teacher, I decided to choose this book. I wish I hadn't. It's very boring, and I found it extremely difficult to read it all the way through. The story line is very drab, and the plot isn't that great, either. We have the typical poor family needing some financial help and lying about being related to a rich family in order to be financially stable. The book isn't that difficult in general to read, but the tone of the book is that of a very dated time, and it just wasn't appealing to me. I felt that the book could have been a lot better than what it turned out to be. If you enjoy very old, typical books, then this would be one for you. There was some basic interesting parts, such as the soap-opera like scene where Tess is reunited with a man that raped her, or when her child dies, but all of the scenes are very normal. You'd expect to find them in a book like this, and that's what makes this book all too ordinary. If I had to recommend this book to anyone in general, I wouldn't. I honestly thought this book was very ordinary, nothing out of the normal, with not really any intense scenes. I wouldn't read it again.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 15, 2003

    It was incredibly boring!!

    The plot was great. I really like that part of it but the fact that it dragged on for 400+ pages made it so boring I wanted to shoot myself. It's not like I could have stopped reading, it was for a school assignment for my junior english class. I'm not going to say it was horrible because it was somebody's work and they put time into it and I don't want to be disrespectful or rude. But, if it wasn't as long I'm sure I would have loved it, it's a great plot but the novel itself...zzzzzzzzzz!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2003

    Um...a so-so novel

    Maybe it's just the Victorian era in which this book was written, but I found it maddening and after the third phase boring and soap opratic. All three main characters are unlikable, if not dispicable. It was great for it's time, I guess, but no it's arcaic, hard to read, and NOT A LOVE STORY!!!!! sorry, I hate when it's compared to that.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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