Laurel's Reviews > Lady Chatterley's Lover

Lady Chatterley's Lover by D.H. Lawrence
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's review
Sep 14, 10

bookshelves: classics, fiction
Read in September, 2010

This book was a bizarre experience for me. It reads much like a traditional, classic English novel, except with loads of descriptive sex and vulgar words mixed in for shock value. Instead of being shocked, though, I just found it all a bit tiresome and rather silly.

Maybe it was the fact that Lawrence sometimes used words like "thee" and "thy" and "dost" mixed in with modern day vulgarities that added to the overall unintentional humor of it for me, or perhaps it was that the vulgarities were simply used so darned often. In any event, I found myself laughing out loud (John Thomas and Lady Jane, anyone?). I also found myself cringing. C and F words aside, did anyone tell Lawrence the word "bowels" is not particularly appealing? Anyway, I can see why some people felt at the time this was quite simply a trashy romance disguised as literature. It kind of is. Well-written and intelligent, for the most part, but still a bit trashy nonetheless.

The story is essentially this: Lady Chatterley's young husband is paralyzed from an injury at war, and is rendered impotent. This leaves the question: can Lady Chatterley be happy in her new marriage without sexual intimacy, or is she excused for seeking physical satisfaction elsewhere with another man? This may have made for a somewhat interesting story (whether you sympathized with her or not) had Lady Chatterley and her husband had a loving friendship or an otherwise soulful or intellectual connection of some kind. But, they didn't. They seemed to have little in common at all. And as such, the book became (for me) merely a story about a woman generally unhappy in her marriage who chooses to have an affair. The fact that her husband is paralyzed becomes almost irrelevant, as it appeared their marriage would have lacked love and passion (physical or emotional) regardless.

While I understand Lawrence was trying to argue that both mind and body must be equally satisfied, particularly in a society Lawrence felt was growing more industrialized and thus emotionally and physically stilted (as was Lady Chatterley's husband), I don't think he did so in the most effective or impressive of ways.

I think I had been hoping to read a book about the complexities of what truly defines intimacy, and how a sudden illness or disability can alter a relationship. But that was definitely not this book.

That being said, there are somewhat interesting (and also at times rather dull) discussions on the state of the social classes and industrialization in post-WWI England, as well as some rather open (if not extremely overly stereotypical) dialogues about the differences in which men and women viewed sex at the time. Vulgar words excluded, the prose is quite lovely in places, and there's no doubt Lawrence can write. But in the end, it felt much to me like nothing more than a book trying way too hard to be provocative. I just could not take it seriously.
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Reading Progress

10.0% "I can definitely already see why this book was so controversial for its time..."
25.0% "hrmm..."
60.0% "Oh my gosh. This book is actually cracking me up. It's not supposed to, but it is."
90.0% "thank goodness this is almost over. :)"
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