David Fortier's Reviews > Of Human Bondage

Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham
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's review
Nov 09, 2009

did not like it
bookshelves: classics

The writing and the characterization are fabulous. I can see why people have raved about this for a long time as a literary classic.

However, Phillip doesn't learn even a little, for the first 500 pages of the edition I was reading. He constantly allows people to use him, over and over, and over. Characters need to at least understand their problems, see their faults, know they need to change, even if they are powerless. But Phillip doesn't. He just continues on, acting like a pavement stone, and allows everybody to walk all over him.

I put the book down, after investing hours and hours in it. Why? Because I couldn't force myself to keep reading. It was painful. Yes I was emotionally charged, and that's usually a good sign, but sheer frustration is not the sort of thing that compels me to read when I have a shelf of books waiting to be picked up.

I might try the Painted Vail or a shorter work of Maugham someday, but I wouldn't risk 600 pages again.

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Reading Progress

November 9, 2009 – Shelved
January 11, 2010 –
page 421
Started Reading
January 17, 2010 – Finished Reading
January 18, 2010 –
page 704
January 14, 2011 – Shelved as: classics

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

I vehemently contend that Philip did change. Just not immediately after each event and not astronomically so.

message 2: by Ben (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ben Agreed. It wasn't a huge change and it wasn't sudden or obvious, but it happened. And it happened in the same way that it does in real life: slowly and with time.

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