So, this time around I didn't care for this novel. It is depressing and makes you hate and despise men. I don't really like Hardy's didactic writing style either. He pounds the reader over the head with how horrible religion and God are and, though I find his theories interesting, he really overdoes it. Tess as a character is intriguing and I find myself still thinking about her plight days after I've finished the book.
The Masterpiece Classic adaptation is fantastically depressing, but wonderful in its faithfulness to the feel of the book and the acting is great.
Now I am on to Wuthering Heights.