NOTE: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SOME SPOILERS!!!
(My Rating: 5/5)
I usually don’t enjoy ‘love stories’, especially ones that deal with adultery, so I was quite surprised when I finished the 170 pages of The Bridges of Madison County in one evening and even more surprised when I proceeded, without batting an eyelid, to give it a 5 star rating on Goodreads!
Though he has a sort of ‘no nonsense’ style of writing, there is also something extremely moving about the way Waller writes and something quite powerful and ‘un-cheesy’ about the narrative, which is a work of fiction, but supposedly based on real life events.
This is a story about the connection and unbreakable bond between a woman and a man.
The woman: out of place in the world she lives in, with ideas and passions too big for the little town in Iowa she inhabits, though she has adjusted quite well and is content enough with what life has handed her.
The man: a photographer, a nomad, a man with old-fashioned ways, a man’s man.
The story is about what happens when their paths cross.
Many of the reviews I read on Goodreads condemned and dismissed the book because of the adultery committed by Robert Kincaid and Francesca Johnson, but I think there is much more to the story than just the element of infidelity, and to focus solely on that one facet is to miss the wood for the trees. In fact, I am ready to admit that I personally would have enjoyed the book even more if the actual act of adultery had not been committed, with the rest of the story remaining the same. But it’s not my story and perhaps the book just wouldn’t be the same without it.
To me the story was about making a connection with someone, about being human, about longing and yearning to have something that is within your grasp and which you have desired for a very long time and then ultimately about putting all that aside – sacrificing all of it – because of your responsibilities and because you want to do the right thing.
One can see that Waller has put in a great effort to be careful while writing this story, for such a story can very easily begin to sound cheesy. (Indeed, as I am writing this review, I wonder if my own words are bordering on being cheesy!) But in the book it is almost like every word and every sentence have been meticulously thought about, with the intention of being respectful.
I wept as I read. And I believe if a writer is able to move you to tears, it means he has pulled you into his story, has touched a nerve, and ……..perhaps created a poignant piece of art?
Have you read The Bridges of Madison County? What did you think?