Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This story must be judged by the standards of the time it was written. There wasn't a lot of competition for the reader's time, that is, if a person had the time and ability to read (or access to someone who could read to them, because illiteracy or poor eyesight were a factor even for the upper classes in Defoe's time), they didn't have shelves and shelves of fiction to choose from. Long meandering stories were the 17th/18th century's version of today's television series. In that context, Moll Flanders in a damn good story. It's a woman facing every kind of obstacle a female of that era could encounter, some of her own making, some brought on by society. She starts her life over more than once, not always in a better position than the life she left behind. The first person narrative is truer to form than a lot of more current, more well regarded books, and despite the archaic vocabulary, quite funny and easy to understand.
I listened to this book rather than read it for two reasons: 1) I knew I'd never finish it if I read it; 2) Defoe would have written this knowing it was likely to be read aloud, and so I thought it would be a more authentic experience. Virginia Leishman has a lovely voice that fit the story perfectly.
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