Jude the Obscure was an evil, evil book written by Thomas Hardy
some time ago. Nearly every college level Literature
professor, and I use the term loosely, has inflicted
on their unsuspecting students.
Reduced to its lowest terms, this book is about a guy whose life sucks. Horribly. The reader is forced to wonder why the author doesn't simply put this character out of his misery. For instance, he meets his first wife when she throws a pig penis at him. The two manage to get married, and she eventually leaves him because he is an ineffectual loser. Another instance of how bad this character has it is when he actually tries to commit suicide, but merely comes down with pneumonia. This is, of course, not enough to actually kill him. The remaining characters in the book go downhill rapidly from there.
His second girlfriend is also his cousin, hinting that this book is set, not in England, but in West Virginia. They have two children, but Jude's child by his first wife comes back, and kills the other two as well as himself. He leaves a badly mispelled suicide note, "Done because we are too menny". Somehow the tragedy is supposed to be amplified by this, but the reader, having been inured by mishap after mishap can only chuckle derisively. Aargh! That's not funny, it's not even tragic...
Finally, Jude dies, and the book, thankfully, ends. However, the horror doesn't end there. The hapless student, for I cannot imagine anyone reading this book voluntarily, must then analyze the book. When the world of Ray Bradbury's Farenheit 451 comes about, I will be at the front of the book burning line, carrying a baker's dozen or so copies of this book.