Thursday, August 23, 2007

Lady Chatterley's Lover by DH Lawrence

Rating: 6/10

Published: 1928
Number of pages: 400
ISBN: 0143039617

Started: 13 August 2007
Finished: 20 August 2007

Summary (taken from BCF's Reading Circle blurb):

Constance Chatterley feels trapped in her sexless marriage to the invalid Sir Clifford. Unable to fulfill his wife emotionally or physically, Clifford encourages her to have a liaison with a man of their own class. But Connie is attracted instead to her husband's gamekeeper and embarks on a passionate affair that brings new life to her stifled existence. Can she find a true equality with Mellors, despite the vast gulf between their positions in society? One of the most controversial novels in English literature, Lady Chatterley's Lover is an erotically charged and psychologically powerful depiction of adult relationships.

I was a bit disappointed in this book for a few reasons. The first being that I never really got a clear picture of any of the characters. It was probably just me, but I felt there were contradictions all over the place when they were being described (and it was throughout the whole book, not just the beginning). One moment Clifford seemed to be strong and the next moment weak (physically, not mentally). If the physical description of him was supposed to be symbolic of his mental strength, I didn't find it to be very effective. I couldn't like Connie at all; Mellors was perhaps the only character I had any real understanding and liking of.

I also found the text a bit too repetitive for my liking. I'm not referring to the parts where a single phrase or word was repeated - I could handle that. My problem was where whole ideas were repeated and ruminated over ad nauseum. I like a bit of deep conversation in a book, particularly when it concerns the state of humanity, but the long passages of dialogue and thoughts bored me to tears in this book.

The beginning was very drawn out and not particularly interesting, however, it seemed to pick up a little around the time that Connie and Mellors were first meeting, before becoming boring again. It then seemed to be in a big damn hurry to finish.

There were a couple of redeeming points: the descriptions of the woods were nice, although it would have helped the ol' imagination if I'd actually heard of any of those particular plants before! I mostly enjoyed the scenes between Connie and Mellors (not just the sex scenes!), except when Connie was being clingy and demanding over and over that Mellors tell her they'd be together and that he loved her.

At least the ending was somewhat of a surprise to me. I've seen a movie adaptation of this and I'm sure it ended differently (Connie staying with Clifford while Mellors went to work at the pits).

I'm glad I read the book, if only so I can better understand its importance in the history of literature, but I'll not be reading it again.

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