Robyn Blaber's Reviews > Of Human Bondage

Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham
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's review
Apr 29, 12

it was amazing
bookshelves: british-literature
Read in April, 2012

There is so much to love about this book that I don't know where to begin. When our hero, Phillip goes to Paris, however, the whole thing struck home. He walked down the same streets that I've walked down and he'd done many of the same things. His experience with his first art class, for example, when confronted with a nude model and having no idea how to draw her. For the average reader, this is a priceless moment. For me, it's a page from my own memoir!

Philip is simultaneously a genius and an idiot, attractive and repulsive and his bondage is really just this desire to be 'normal'. It takes him thirty years (and several hundred pages) to finally come to the conclusion that no one is normal and at best a few normal attributes is all that a person can ever possess.

We discover the meaning of life in the book... and wonder... really? I was reminded of watching Monty Python's Meaning of Life movie and thinking... really? Life, I suppose is what you make of it. Our hero learns to be satisfied with his by discovering what he really wants from it and not what others expect from him. If this was a modern tale, I'm sure that in the final chapter, he would have closed his facebook account. Easily one of the best books I've read this year.

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