Unbridled passion, deception, guilt; can we pack any more themes in one book!? I picked up Madame Bovary after it was mentioned in the movie Little Children. Honestly, I was expecting to be asleep by the end of the first page.
How did I get sucked into a book about romance in the early 18oo's in France? One: it's written well. It went down easy. Obviously credit should go to the translator(originally written in French) who made the book as easy to read as possible while keeping true to what the author, Gustave Flaubert, wanted to convey.
Two: it's relevant. I meet women like the madame every day. You know the type. A bunch of women who are stuck in boring relationships and dream about actually doing something about it. Well this lady acted on it. Actually, she went nuts trying to live the life she wanted.
Three: It's an important novel. If you're into reading, then you'll recognize this book helped start the "literary realism" movement. It is also considered one of the best novels ever written. I don't know about that, but then again I'm not really part of the literati. What the hell do I know. I just know when a book is relevant to me in some way.
We can all see aspects of Madame Bovary in us. How much depends on how stuck or how crazy we are.