Monday, August 10, 2009

The Bridges of Madison County- Robert James Waller

The Bridges of Madison County The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller

My rating:
1 of 5 stars

I will preface all of this by saying that I don't generally read romance, so please don't be offended. And, everyone likes different things, so don't let my review taint you if you want to read this novel.

I hated this book. In fact, I think I would give it zero stars if that didn't seem too mean. I thought it was absolutely terrible.

Very basically the novel is about a photographer who goes to Iowa to photograph some covered bridges for National Geographic. He gets lost, meets a farm wife whose family is away at the fair and they have a torrid affair for a week, exciting all of the passion that she has never felt and all of the commitment that he has never felt. At the end of the week they part and return to their normal lives but never forget their one true love.

There are a wide variety of things that I disliked about the book, so I think I'll just list them. 1. I hate (HATE!) the writing technique where the "writer" has been approached to tell some story and then proceeds to tell it and wraps the whole book up with "well, that's their story." I don't care whether you were actually approached and commissioned or something to write this book. Don't tell me.

2. The actual story is so contrite. It's played and there wasn't enough plot to it. Really? Boy meets girl, boy can't have girl, boy and girl always wonder what would have been.

3. There is no depth to the characters. I hated the descriptions. If I had to read the female character describing her love as "hard" one more time, I might have thrown up. I didn't care about them. I couldn't relate to them.

4. Waller switches between points of view like a forth grader. I had a really hard time following whose head I was in. The reader is bounced around so much, I started to feel dizzy. The transitions aren't smooth. It wasn't well balanced between POVs either.

5. Waller also gets preachy at points. He had his characters spout off some long monologue that you can tell is just the author expressing his own viewpoint. It wasn't good and didn't feel natural.

6. The ending was awful. It ends with an interview of some random guy that knew one of the characters. No, just no.

Now, one might ask, if I thought this book was so terrible, why did I finish it? Because I thought it would get better. It was a bestseller. I honestly thought that something good had to happen in it. Nope, wrong. I really don't know how so many people purchased this book. My only guess is that there are a lot of desperate housewives out there.

As an aside, I got this book from my husband's bookshelf. It apparently was a gift or something. I knew he had read it and when I finished I tentatively asked him if he had liked it. Thank God he said it was awful too. If he loved this book, that might have been grounds for a divorce.


  1. I'm curious to know where the list of 100 books came from?

  2. Well, I stole the idea from Moon Rat, over at Editorial Ass, who stole it from her friend Andromeda. But my personal list basically came from all of the books on my shelf that I felt I should have read by now. Being and English major and an English teacher I've acquired an ungodly amount of books and wanted to semi-prioritize getting through them. :) I also pulled some from various "!00 Books some special organization thinks you should read" lists. You can check out my original post about it here:



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