Classic Book Review: Moll Flanders

Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe
Moll Flanders 
by Daniel Defoe

3 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


Moll Flanders tells the story of her life, from her infancy in Newgate Prison where her mother was convicted as a thief, to her young maidenhood and adulthood as a whore, conwoman, honest wife, mistress, mother, thief, and the worst kind of liar.

I just hated this book from start to finish. I hated the main character, Moll Flanders, for all her sneaky, conniving, selfish, evil ways. She is entirely self-centered. She is disgustingly promiscuous. She has several children by different men, and abandons them all. She lies to everyone about everything. She has no morals whatsoever, and shows no remorse for her heinous crimes. She schemes how she can trick people out of their money, and steals from innocent children. She is revolting in every particular.

I did not like the writing style either.

 The only other Defoe book that I have read was Robinson Crusoe, and the factual, pragmatic style worked for that kind of story. But this is a story full of emotional upheaval and violence and complicated family drama.

The story needed a finer touch and more deep explanations of what is going on within the characters’ hearts and minds. Moll’s motivations are rarely explained. She launches into relationships with men without any explanation of WHY they “fell in love”. The writing is so bare and plain.

There are also NO chapter breaks at all. There are NO breaks in the story. It’s just one long rambling narrative.

The story is much too long as well. There are at least 100 pages (I counted. From page 201- 309) that deal entirely with her escapades as a pick-pocket and thief. Just recounting different “jobs” that she did, and how she got away with it, and how she fooled people, and how much “loot” she stole. I mean, really. I didn’t need 100 pages of that. The plot doesn’t go anywhere. It just stagnates for 100 pages of thievery.

Ugh. Not happy with this book.

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