April 3, 2012

Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence: Review

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Lady Chatterley's Lover Cover
Soooo, Lady Chatterley’s Lover. Lots of loins and bowels and other words. The sexy times were…meh. Back in the day everybody was all, “My eyes! My eyes!” but now, not so shocking.

Connie, aka Lady Chatterley, is married to this aristocrat, Clifford, who was injured in the Great War. He’s now confined to a wheelchair and his equipment doesn’t work. Not that that really matters much to him. He’d rather talk philosophy than hold hands and whisper sweet nothings. Connie gets sickly from lack of sex (like you do) so she has an affair with a writer but he doesn’t satisfy her needs. Then she meets Mellors, her husband’s gamekeeper.

I don’t think Lawrence and I will ever get along. I’ve read two of his books and both were All About Lawrence and his issues. Sons and Lovers is about his Mom issues and Lady Chatterley’s Lover is about his Sex issues. I disliked everyone in this book with the exception of Hilda, Connie’s sister. Hilda doesn’t take any BS from Mellors or Clifford. She’s one no nonsense lady. Connie is such a wet noodle that I can barely conjure any emotion for her other than apathy. It’s weird to me that Lawrence chose her point of view to tell the story.

I hated Mellors. His attitude toward women is offensive. After reading both Lawrence’s Apropos of Lady Chatterley’s Lover and Doris Lessing’s introduction, I came away with the belief that Lawrence wanted to be Mellors and had a similar views of women. No independence for women being a big one. Those darn modern women with their jazz. Lawrence seems to have spiritual connection and sexual connection between men and women confused. He and Mellors have bizarre expectations in that area. Lessing says he had little knowledge of the mechanics of the female anatomy, which she says was common for the guys of the time, and beyond, in her experience. (Though, they might not have known the parts of the vehicle, they knew how to drive it. Lawrence was angry that it needed gas.)

I can see why the upper classes wouldn’t have liked Lady Chatterley’s Lover and why they put up a stink over it. Clifford is impotent, which seems to be the Biggest Deal in Lady Chatterley’s Lover’s world. He doesn’t have much use for relations even before his injury. I would have had more sympathy for him if he appeared to have loved Connie at all. And there is some really weird stuff at the end with Clifford, like My Strange Obsession weird. So the upper class guy doesn’t come off very positively. It’s a bigger deal for Connie to have an affair with Mellors than someone of her own class, even within the confines of the story. Can’t have the servants thinking they can seduce the Lady of the House and getting above themselves.

Despite hating everyone, the writing is as good as you would expect. A book like this doesn’t last because of stinky writing. Yes, the “love” scenes are ridiculous and there is copious use of the F-word but there are some memorable moments.

I don’t know. I’m torn. Lady Chatterley’s Lover has so much fodder for discussion but Mellors…I hate that guy.

Ratings? I can't even rate this one.

15 comments :

  1. I have this on my list for the Classics Club. How I see it, I'll probably have the same issues that you had, but I've never read Lawrence so it's on my gap list. :)

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    1. A lot of other people liked the book, so I might just be the odd man out.

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  2. Was it the use of the f-word that had everyone all up in arms when it was first published?

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    1. That was one of the things. I think he broke all the rules with this one.

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  3. Sounds like too much chattering and not enough loving to me :) I think it's just one of those books you have to read at some point, but I wouldn't reread it!

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    1. Yes, it's a "read to see what all the fuss is about" book.

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  4. I enjoyed Sons and Lovers for the most part. I plan to read Lady Chatterly's Lover at some point, but haven't gotten to it yet. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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    1. You might enjoy it then. I don't think he's my cup of tea.

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  5. Bowels are so unsexy. Uhg, men.

    The only thing I've read by Lawrence was Etruscan Places. That was enough.

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    1. Everyone's bowels were aching for someone else. I thought it was weird. Why bowels? What is going on down there?

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  6. Oh, come on. Rate it. X maybe. R? NC-17? ;-)

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  7. I ended up "appreciating" this one, and the loins cracked me up overall. Sorry it was stink-ay for ya.

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  8. I agree...the sex scenes were pretty cheesy and Lawrence had Issues. But overall I liked it way more than you did. Maybe I was too busy wondering why it was considered obscene that Mellors didn't bug me as much!

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  9. I'm with Andi and Jill. I found myself drawn into the big stink about the class differences to let myself become upset with Mellors' opinions on sex and women and women's parts. All the loin stuff was just funny ha-ha after a while. I'm sorry you didn't like it.

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