Tess of the D’Urbervilles: I’m confused about my feelings.

Oh, Tess of the D’Urbervilles. I had heard a ton about this book, so when I had an extra credit on Audible, I decided I would use it to get this audiobook. While I don’t regret the decision (I mean, it’s a classic, right?), I do feel slightly annoyed that I had to endure the frustration that resulted from the characters in this book.

Tess of the D’Urbervilles: I’m confused about my feelings.Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy, Tim Dolin, Margaret R. Higonnet
Published by Penguin Classics on January 30th 2003
Genres: Classic Literature
Pages: 518
Narrator: Peter Firth
Length: 14 hrs and 23 mins
Format: Audiobook
Buy on Amazon, Buy on Barnes & Noble, Buy from The Book Depository

When Tess Durbeyfield is driven by family poverty to claim kinship with the wealthy D'Urbervilles and seek a portion of their family fortune, meeting her 'cousin' Alec proves to be her downfall. A very different man, Angel Clare, seems to offer her love and salvation, but Tess must choose whether to reveal her past or remain silent in the hope of a peaceful future.

What was right about Tess:

1. I can totally see why this was a scandalous book when it was published (1891): it talks a lot of sex and our main character, Tess, certainly does not follow the path that society would have her follow. This, of course, makes for a very fun read in 2017. It’s a lot spicier than your typical Victorian novel.

What was a bit rough about it*: 

1. I get that this book was from 1891, but that didn’t make the pill of what Tess had to deal with any easier to swallow. The (pardon my language) BULLSHIT that Tess had to go through was aggravating AF. The hypocrisy and emotional abuse that she endured was ridiculous. And the fact that after all of that she still felt like she was in the wrong?! Holy crap. I thought I was going to have a rage-stroke from hearing some of those parts.

2. The ending caught me completely off-guard. It’s certainly unexpected and bizarre. By the end of the novel I thought some of the characters to be quite insane, and I don’t know if  Hardy was going for that?

*But I think these moments were supposed to be rough for the reader..? Which I guess means Hardy accomplished his aim.

I didn’t know what to rate this one, because I loved it and hated it at the same time. Ultimately, though, I think this is definitely one of the more “fun” classics to read, so I would recommend it to almost anyone.

Have you read Tess? Can we please talk about it!? I don’t have anyone in my life who has read it, and I have a lot of feelings that I want to vent with someone!!

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  1. Okay, I’ve never read this book BUT I have see the BBC miniseries (mostly for Eddie Redmayne tbh) and I can verify that this is the most rage-inducing, insane story EVER. Poor Tess is just tortured for the ENTIRE thing until she goes friggin’ mental at the end. Every time you think maybe she’ll catch a break, something happens to ruin it! And that ending is INSANE!! I just, I can’t. Lol.

    I’ve always been curious about the book, I think because I was secretly hoping it was better than the miniseries. Good to know that it’s just as crazy 😆
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    1. Bahahahah, this comment made me LOL – especially the part about her going “mental” at the end, which is the best summary yet. It’s definitely just as crazy as the mini series!!

  2. I saw part of “Tess” on a flight. very spicy and intriguing. Must have been a PBS thing, because I wanted to watch the whole show, but never followed up. Probably faster and more fun and less likely to cause a rage stroke than having to listen or read the whole book. Jane Austen or Thomas Hardy?
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    1. Hahahah, yes it definitely caused a “rage stroke” XD I’d say Jane Austen, but I need to read more Hardy before I commit…