If your cursor is hovering over this thread beware it contains a spoiler.
I doubt I'll ever read this book. I more or less decided that when I watched the DVD. I liked quite a lot of it, but there was a terrible scene in which Jude comes home to find his son has hanged himself and his two little sisters. I thought, come on - is that necessary? Here they are, struggling but just about scraping through. Then this happens. The rest of the story seemed naturalistic, but this bit seemed like a visitation from an angry god. I thought the remainder of the film would be about Jude being tried for murder, but in the next scene they were at the funeral and the police seem to be satisfied with the explanation. Surely a child hanging himself and his two sisters from the guilt of being a burden to his parents is implausible. I have never heard of a news story like it. It would certainly make national news if it did happen. I could believe a child committing suicide for that reason, but the killing of siblings too? Besides, if Hardy wanted to make Jude's son the cause of Sue's daughters' deaths then he could do it some other way: perhaps by passing on a disease or starting a fire. I thought it was too melodramatic. After that I marked Hardy down as an author who thinks piling on the misery makes for good writing.