Book Review: The Bridges of Madison County

The Bridges of Madison County
By: Robert James Waller
Published By: Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date: January 1992
Page Count: 224
Source: Purchased by Reviewer
Audience: Adult - Fiction

This is an absolute must read for me; be warned though, as I feel this is a well established story due to the movie, I am not going to worry about potential spoilers in this review. 

I read the whole thing in just over 2 hours and completely cried my heart out; big, ugly tears - and I am NOT a crier generally. There's this sensation I get when I read a really captivating romance, kind of like I'm underwater and slightly disconnected from the world around me. I hope others get the same thing, but my goodness - I felt like that here, more than I have in a long time. My heart was beating loudly the whole time. I started out knowing the basic premise - this is a 'two ships passing' kind of a story. I know my Mom loves it, and always cries at it, and to be honest, I thought it was probably a load of rubbish. As it was only a very short book, I figured I'd read it before giving her the book - like many she has only ever watched the movie and didn't realize there was a book. 

I am so glad I did take the time to read it. found the story to be quite profound and beautifully written. The fact that it is all based in adultery actually never bothered me, which I find surprising as I really disapprove of that. I think it was because I felt strongly that Francesca was not a woman in her own right, and that her family had reduced her to a functionary position, so when someone came along who saw her, I wanted her to break free. Cynics would say that Robert could have been doing exactly the same thing with women all over the world, but I believe the evidence says not. 

What really got me, I think, is the authors note at the beginning, explaining that the book is based on a true story... this actually happened. Two people coming together like that for such a short time, but making such an indelible mark on the other that it could last forever. There is evidence that both Francesca and Robert remained entirely dedicated to each other, despite being separated, for the rest of their lives. 

How much you enjoy this will no doubt be colored by your views on adultery, so those that feel especially strongly about that may want to skip this. However if it is in your nature to be a little forgiving then I hope you will find this to be a truly profound romance story.

The legendary love story, the bestselling hardcover novel of all time, and the major motion picture starring Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep. This is the story of Robert Kincaid, the photographer and free spirit searching for the covered bridges of Madison County, and Francesca Johnson, the farm wife waiting for fulfillment of a girlhood dream. It shows readers what it is to love and be loved so intensely that life is never the same again.