This book was written in 1722 and was incredibly daring for its time. Many people still find it risque. It is now regarded as an early feminist work, since it openly discusses gender inequities and the problems of prostitution and abortion: matters which absolutely could not be talked about in the 18th century. In the 18th century, it was not possible for a lady to get a husband without being in possession of landed property or other forms of property. Women were responsible for the payment of their dowry. For this reason, Moll needs to have cash, bonds or landed property in order to get married. Since she is not rich, she pretends to men that she has money so that she can seduce them. She has bad experiences with men and does prison time, leading a hard life, but she never succumbs to bitterness, and the novel even ends on a very happy note. If you missed it in English class (and if you were home schooled, you probably did) you should read it now, especially with the excellent forward by professor James Sutherland.
Oh, that Moll...scrapes, predicaments, scandals, triumph...all these define her life. From her beginnings as an orphan whose mother birthed her in prison, to her eventual success as an adult, with five marriages in between, Moll ends up a better person than she started out as, that's for sure.
I had trouble getting into the book, but once I got used to the language, after about three chapters, it turned out to be quite the exciting story. You root for Moll the entire time, even when she's doing bad things. I love characters like that.
A good read full of twists and turns and a great female character.
Moll tells her crazy story: her birth in Newgate prison, London street life, adventures in nearby towns, multiple marriages, the American colonies... late 17th century. Defoe's writing is what some have called "plain style," as disguished from the scholastic writing, pretentious verbage, or flowery prose of the century after Shakespeare; in fact, other than a little vocabulary and usage not familiar to us, it's a very comfortable early 21st century read. I got an old copy accidentally, and glad I finally read it; this is my favorite of Defoe's work, so far. A fun story, well told, and I recommend it!
I always used to complain about how books never had a happy ending. Then I read this and I wish it had had a tragic ending. Other than that it was a wonderful story. I just wanted the "heroine" to be brutally punished. I hated her.
A little too dense for my tastes, but I see why it's considered a classic.
I was hoping this would be as good as Robinson Crusoe, but alas, no such luck. It's interesting though to read the thoughts and what a MALE writer in 1722 when this was written, thought of the wiles and wits of a 'fallen woman.' I couldn't quite figure out though what would have possessed him to think this would be a really popular book back then though.