The Bridges of Madison County

Posted on February 25, 2022

Author: Robert James Waller
My Rating: 3/5

I liked reading this book. It was easy to read and kept me interested and I was able to get through it in only about 3 days – so in that sense I liked it.

But, after finishing it, I don’t think I like the story. It’s essentially about a wife and mother who gets enthralled by a stranger from the city and can’t help herself. They end up spending 4 days together while her husband is actively involved with with an out of town kids’ activity, and they call it the love of lifetime. I disagree with this.

It’s easy to be in love with someone for 4 days. The relationship is new, it’s romantic, it’s exciting, and there’s nothing else going on – no job, no kids, no bills to worry about. And I believe a lot of the excitement about the new love is the feeling of leaving all of your responsibilities behind.

I think it’s much harder to love someone for 20+ years – with all of the responsibility that goes with it.

She makes the right decision to not leave her family for this stranger – and he also makes the right decision to leave her and her family alone. This is good, I suppose, but the better option would’ve been to never get involved in the first place.

When I read fiction, I try to get something out of it, a lesson of sorts. In this case, I put myself in the place of the husband. The lesson is to treat your wife like she’s the woman of your dreams, even if it has been years. You could be the man of your wife’s dreams, it doesn’t have to be a stranger. And to try and do the little things – Robert Kincaid (the stranger), when he left the woman’s house the first time:

…shook his head at the stupidity of men, some men, most men. They could at least drink the brandy and not bang the screen door on their way out.