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Past BOTM discussions > Jan 2018 BOTM: Women in Love:

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message 1: by Kristel (new)

Kristel (kristelh) | 3821 comments Mod
Women in Love D.H. Lawrence is one of Modern Libraries top 100 books of all times. Privately printed in 1920 and published commercially in 1921, Women in Love is the novel Lawrence himself considered his masterpiece. Set in the English Midlands, the novel traces the lives of two sisters, Ursula and Gudrun, and the men with whom they fall in love.

D. H. LAWRENCE (1885-1930), the son of a coal miner and a lace worker, completed his formal studies at University College, Nottingham, in 1908 and began teaching at a boys’ school. By 1912, he had abandoned teaching to write full-time.

1. How did you experience the book? Were you engaged immediately, or did it take you a while to "get into it"? How did you feel reading it?

2. Describe the main characters—personality traits, motivations, and inner qualities.
Gudrun and Ursula Brangwen and Gerald and Birkin.
How are the two sisters different? Describe Gerald Crich and Rupert Birkin’s relationship.

3. Discuss the plot: was it complete, with highlights of major events, complete?
• Is it engaging—do you find the story interesting?
• Is this a plot-driven book—a fast-paced page-turner?
• Does the plot unfold slowly with a focus on character?
• Were you surprised by complications, twists & turns?
• Did you find the plot predictable, even formulaic?

4. Talk about the book's structure.
• Is it a continuous story...or interlocking short stories?
• Does the time-line move forward chronologically?
• Does time shift back & forth from past to present?
• Is there a single viewpoint or shifting viewpoints?
• Why might the author have chosen to tell the story
the way he or she did?
• What difference does the structure make in the way
you read or understand the book?

5. What main ideas—themes—does the author explore? (Consider the title, often a clue to a theme.) Does the author use symbols to reinforce the main ideas? Describe the novel’s use of horse symbolism. What does it imply about human nature and relationships? (Grade Saver).

6. What passages strike you as insightful, even profound? Perhaps a bit of dialog that's funny or poignant or that encapsulates a character? Maybe there's a particular comment that states the book's thematic concerns?

7. Is the ending satisfying? If so, why? If not, why not...and how would you change it?

8. Have you read other books by the same author? If so how does this book compare. If not, does this book inspire you to read others.

9. Give us your review, is this a book you should read before you die? Does it have a significant contribution to literature in its day and relevance for today? This book was controversial in its time. Is it still?


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 894 comments I started this once before and was very bored, so I am struggling to want to read it. Can anyone tell me if they liked it, and why?


message 3: by Kristel (new)

Kristel (kristelh) | 3821 comments Mod
Kelly wrote: "I started this once before and was very bored, so I am struggling to want to read it. Can anyone tell me if they liked it, and why?"

Kelly wrote: "I started this once before and was very bored, so I am struggling to want to read it. Can anyone tell me if they liked it, and why?"
I just started. I like Lawrence's writing usually. Hope it goes okay.


message 4: by Dree (new)

Dree | 243 comments I started this today, it is my first Lawrence. I am 50 pages in to my edition and have finally gotten to the actual novel lol! The intro material was actually very interesting.


message 5: by Jen (new)

Jen | 1608 comments Mod
I don’t usually read intros/editorials before the book because the last few times I did so, they gave away major plot twists. That’s a long editorial 😂


message 6: by Dree (new)

Dree | 243 comments It was mostly biographical, more an intro to Lawrence than to this novel. Also photos, art, letters. He had very nice handwriting!


message 7: by Gail (new)

Gail (gailifer) | 1192 comments I also have never read a D.H. Lawrence before. I started the Plumed Serpent once a long time ago as I was heading to Oaxaca but I never finished it. I have waded through the introduction and have actually started the novel. I love the way the sister’s speak to each other but am not sure about the language between the dialogue....I think I will have to adjust to it.


message 8: by Diane (new)

Diane | 1918 comments Read: 2016
Rating: 3.5 Stars

I'm not a huge fan of Lawrence, but this is actually my favorite of the 4 books by him I have read. Yes, the writing is a bit tedious and the characters not particularly likable, but I thought that Lawrence did a great job capturing the complexities of the relationships between the four main characters, especially the relationship between the sisters. The language is often quite lovely. If you can get past the occasional ranting, its actually a decent book with a lot of interesting symbolism.


message 9: by Jenni (new)

Jenni (sprainedbrain) | 71 comments I decided to read The Rainbow first, and have almost finished it. I’ve really enjoyed it so far. I will be starting Women in Love next.


message 10: by Pip (new)

Pip | 1304 comments I read this in 1962! I fell in love with Lawrence and read a lot of him in the next couple of years. I am thinking that it is time for a re-read, but only if I finish the other challenges for this month.


message 11: by Gail (new)

Gail (gailifer) | 1192 comments I am still finding the dialogue quite amazing in the way it dances around the emotions we are told the characters are experiencing. However, the amount of emotional descriptions between the dialogue is still irritating me - there is a lot of use of the words hate, love, inchoate, dissolution. All the characters seem to love and hate themselves and everyone else in the story so far. No, that is not true, the women do not seem to love each other ever but the men seem close to loving each other or at least each other’s words and bodies. I did love his description of the masses walking in the town and that precise moment when your paddle straightens the boat with one smooth motion and how that motion can make you swoon. Perhaps I am slowly getting into it....


message 12: by Gina (new)

Gina Andrews | 58 comments I am listening to it as an audio book and was drawn in. For me, hearing the lengthy descriptions or rantings is easier to listen to than to read. The narrator of my version does a superb job with the voices of the different characters, capturing their attitudes and feelings perfectly; and so I find that an hour goes by quickly, which is good since the book is over 19 hours long and my TBR book is over 14 hours.


message 13: by Kristel (new)

Kristel (kristelh) | 3821 comments Mod
I like this kind of writing that is dense with descriptive writing but I find it slow going. Perhaps I should consider audio.


message 14: by Gina (new)

Gina Andrews | 58 comments Kristel wrote: "I like this kind of writing that is dense with descriptive writing but I find it slow going. Perhaps I should consider audio."

Yes, that's part of the reason I tried audio. But also, audio helps me create a better picture in my mind of the setting than just reading it; and a good narrator will make the characters come alive, as mine does. She does a great sing-song performance for Hermione.


message 15: by Jen (new)

Jen | 1608 comments Mod
I just got my book so hope to get started this evening.


message 16: by Dree (new)

Dree | 243 comments I am liking this much more than I expected! Though I definitely enjoy the chapters focused on the sisters more than those on Hermione, Gerald, Rupert etc.


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 894 comments I am both listening to the audio and reading along with a dead tree version. I often do this with classics as I seem to comprehend most. Also, just an aside... I always listen at 1.5 or 2.0 speed. Most people hate the speed, but I like it better. It sounds better to me. I must speak fast!


message 18: by Kristel (new)

Kristel (kristelh) | 3821 comments Mod
Kelly wrote: "I am both listening to the audio and reading along with a dead tree version. I often do this with classics as I seem to comprehend most. Also, just an aside... I always listen at 1.5 or 2.0 speed. ..."
I like to read and listen as well and also read usually at the 1.5 speed. Sometimes the 2.0.


message 19: by Gail (new)

Gail (gailifer) | 1192 comments 2) Describe the characters - I am only about a third of the way into the book but I am beginning to understand what Lawrence is doing with all the explanations of what the characters are feeling that does not come out in the dialogue. I believe it is his way of making the reader see how any character only has a pure emotion for fleeting moments and each individual is made up of many moments which are often contradictory. The sisters are quite close, they know each other so well that they often irritate each other by their very closeness. Grudun is the cooler, more confident, more outwardly passive, more outwardly beautiful. Ursula is more sensitive, grounded in her physical being, more expectant of great things, warmer. Both are intelligent and take it for granted. Gerald is over and over and over again said to be good looking, a gleaming beauty, pure, male, healthy, complete, and only once so far has Lawrence called him a clumsy animal but again a complete, male, (clumsy) animal. Rupert I have yet to understand. He is described as versatile, brilliant with words, clever, ridiculous looking but the main thing that comes out is that he is attractive to the women for being separate and for being incongruous, although he always appears to be so separate that he is depressed and yet always wanting to be even more removed. I suspect those of you who took English Lit will be amused by my learning all this so slowly...I am continuing on and can not yet answer any of the other questions.


message 20: by Kristel (last edited Jan 06, 2018 01:17PM) (new)

Kristel (kristelh) | 3821 comments Mod
I have read through chapter 9; characters—what is it with Hermione. She is described as sepulchral and a corpse, then she uses the lapis with intent to kill and feels righteous about it. Comments?


message 21: by Dree (new)

Dree | 243 comments I am into chapter 12. I think Hermione is a little unhinged. My edition’s intro mentions several of the real
people Lawrence based characters off of. The woman who was thought to be the basis for Hermione was not happy. Which I totally understand!


message 22: by Kristel (last edited Jan 06, 2018 03:09PM) (new)

Kristel (kristelh) | 3821 comments Mod
My impression of characters through Chapter 9
Ursula, doesn't like her home, feelings frightened her, she wears yellow a lot. Gets really upset over the Gerald's treatment of the mare at the RR crossing

Gudron doesn't like the ugliness of town but has to walk the streets on market night. Wears bright sometimes odd color combinations.

Gerald Smiling wolf, lives by standards, do it proper or don't do it.

Birkin hates standards, irritable with everything, hates duality, lack of spontaneity and sensuousness.

Hermione Sepulcher, corpse. sing song voice. In control. Mean, could kill and feel fine about it.


message 23: by Kristel (new)

Kristel (kristelh) | 3821 comments Mod
Birkin and Gerald are opposites and are friends but also hate each other.


message 24: by Kristel (new)

Kristel (kristelh) | 3821 comments Mod
So far I do not think this is a plot driven book. Looks to me like a character driven book. Lots of symbolism.


message 25: by Gail (new)

Gail (gailifer) | 1192 comments I agree, it does not seem to be a plot driven book. The only real plot so far is our left wondering how this group of people are going to come together, or if they are going to come together. Even death seems to be something more symbolic than dramatic. I also think that Birkin and Gerald are opposites and friends and hate each other BUT also love each other but are afraid of that love.


message 26: by Kristel (last edited Jan 06, 2018 03:08PM) (new)

Kristel (kristelh) | 3821 comments Mod
Gail wrote: "I agree, it does not seem to be a plot driven book. The only real plot so far is our left wondering how this group of people are going to come together, or if they are going to come together. Even ..."

I agree there seems to be a lot of underlying love between male characters.


message 27: by Jen (new)

Jen | 1608 comments Mod
I am not enjoying this book. I'm finding the characters rather dull and tedious particularly the degree to which they love/hate, feel hurt and angry toward each other. At first I found the dialogue between the two sisters amusing but not I"m finding the dialogue irritating.

The descriptions of people and nature is beautiful but it's not enough to make it an overall enjoyable read for me. I'm afraid I'm pretty bored.


message 28: by Gail (new)

Gail (gailifer) | 1192 comments Yep, I am still slogging through. I am now about half way and have to keep going off to read something else. I have found it helps with my getting to sleep though.


message 29: by Jen (new)

Jen | 1608 comments Mod
Gail wrote: "Yep, I am still slogging through. I am now about half way and have to keep going off to read something else. I have found it helps with my getting to sleep though."

ha ha, I'm trying not to read it in bed. Part of me wants to just speed through it so I can be done but I can't read more than 1 chapter at a sitting.


message 30: by Kristel (last edited Jan 07, 2018 06:45PM) (new)

Kristel (kristelh) | 3821 comments Mod
I just read the intro in my book. This is Lawrences most difficult book because it really is about him. Birkin is Lawrence. It says that no one should read this book first.

Hermione is Lady Ottoline Morrell.
Ursula is Frieda Lawrence
Gudrun is Katherine Mansfield. Author of The Garden Party
Gerald is Middleton Murry (Lawrence’s closest friend)

The intro in my book states that it contains desires and experiences so personal as to make it incommunicable. And is Lawrence’s hankering for a colony of friends and for some mystic-sensual relationship with a male friend.


message 31: by Jen (new)

Jen | 1608 comments Mod
Kristel wrote: "I just read the intro in my book. This is Lawrences most difficult book because it really is about him. Birkin is Lawrence. It says that no one should read this book first.

Hermione is Lady Ottol..."


Oh, that is interesting. Although I find Birkin pretty insufferable 😂


message 32: by Kristel (new)

Kristel (kristelh) | 3821 comments Mod
Yes, I would say that I personally do not like Birkin and I probably would not like D. H. Lawrence should I have had the privilege of meeting him. I know I do not like Hermione. Frieda (Lawrence’s wife) is a German woman he met, she was married to another man and she is older that Lawrence. Supposedly there is a scene coming up in the book that is probably an actual fight that Lawrence had with his wife. He wrote this book in Cornwall where he went after receiveing a negative response to The Rainbow. Which also is probably reflected in the story.


message 33: by Dree (new)

Dree | 243 comments I went into this book with very low expectations. I don’t like romances, I don’t much like reading about English landed gentry, and all in all I expected something more Austen-like (apparently I am the only person on Earth that doesn’t like Austen).

So, lots of weird dancing, lots (and lots) of agonizing, and a fully expect to find more unexpected nudity. It fully exceeds my expectations lol. I kind of wish I had read The Rainbow first, but I did not think I would have time.


message 34: by Kristel (new)

Kristel (kristelh) | 3821 comments Mod
According to my book, there is little connection between the two books except the sister’s names but reading the Rainbow might give insights into why people rejected Lawrence as a pornographer. The naked men scenes are a bit odd I think.

The book that one should read first is Sons and Lovers which I have read but probably back in the seventies. I read Lady Chatterly’s Lover after starting on the list.


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 894 comments Dree wrote: "I went into this book with very low expectations. I don’t like romances, I don’t much like reading about English landed gentry, and all in all I expected something more Austen-like (apparently I am..."


Nope -- I also dislike Austen. I dislike romance books. And I don't much like this book.


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 894 comments There is one thing that I like. Throughout the book he uses the same word multiple times while describing something. At first I didn't like it, but as the book went on I found it powerful. Having said that, it is almost the only thing I liked!


message 37: by Gail (new)

Gail (gailifer) | 1192 comments That is so funny. I have had the same reaction to Lawrence’s use of the same word over and over. It is definitely becoming powerful.... (I have not finished the book)


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 894 comments Gail wrote: "That is so funny. I have had the same reaction to Lawrence’s use of the same word over and over. It is definitely becoming powerful.... (I have not finished the book)"

I am glad I am not alone.


message 39: by Gail (new)

Gail (gailifer) | 1192 comments I finished the book. I can't say that it was enjoyable reading but it was certainly an interesting read. It felt as if Lawrence was largely working with the needs of his main characters rather than the "loves". One needed to be loved, one needed to be seen as a full being who was terrified of losing herself to the body and desires of her beloved, one was driven by desires and the intoxication of having desires, one wanted to be one with the beloved and his best friend but in an intellectual way only it seemed. It was certainly not plot driven and I felt that the ending was just a way of completing the book rather an organic conclusion to what had gone before from a character or plot perspective. It was an organic conclusion to Lawrence's own thoughts on life I suspect. I was particularly unappreciative of the introduction of new characters at the end that off set the main characters so thoroughly.


message 40: by Pip (new)

Pip | 1304 comments I have started to listen and love the audio. I am amazed that some scenes, such as Gerald diving into the water come back.to me from 56 years ago. I am trying to remember why I Loved this so much when I first read it. I think it was the passion. It spoke to the passions I was feeling then.


message 41: by Gail (new)

Gail (gailifer) | 1192 comments The diving scene is a very wonderfully drawn scene and in an odd way, one of the few dramatic scenes in the book. You want an outcome that doesn’t arrive. Although I suspect the couples fighting scenes could have been dramatic if read in the right frame of mind. How wonderful that you get to revisit a young passion through reading. Double the fun.


message 42: by Dree (last edited Jan 12, 2018 08:49PM) (new)

Dree | 243 comments I finished! Yippee. I did not love this book--actually, I am really really glad I never read it in an English lit class because I hate discussing/writing about/interpreting symbolism but this book is so clearly, blatantly, symbolic (darkness darkness darkness GREEN; snow and the end of a relationship, etc etc).

There were some quotes in the first quarter or so of the book that I liked, but I did not note them. They were good, but not great.

I think the book is supposed to be about love/relationships, but it read to me as a book about indecision. But maybe that's because these characters seem unable to make decisions for themselves--someone needs to push them into doing something, and the couples seem built on the pushing of each other to do things. People like this drive me crazy, so I may be reading way more into it than there is.

I am not generally a fan of character-driven books--especially when the characters aren't likeable--but I found this one more readable than most. I am so very curious about c1920 England--why are all these 25-35 year olds single? Is this because of the war? At what point would the women be considered old maids and the men confirmed bachelors? Was that common then/there, or only amongst the middle/non-gentry landed classes? I assume the Crichs are new money, since they are industrialists? Is that why Gerald could potentially marry a schoolteacher like Ursula? (The history major in me has come out, this is the kind of stuff I think about even when reading novels!)

(Also--am I the only one who has been having fits getting into this group for the last two days? I can get in through notifications, but I get Alice if I try to go to the group page.)


message 43: by Kristel (new)

Kristel (kristelh) | 3821 comments Mod
Dree wrote: "I finished! Yippee. I did not love this book--actually, I am really really glad I never read it in an English lit class because I hate discussing/writing about/interpreting symbolism but this book ..."

We are all having troubles getting into the group. We cannot access through home page. Have to use a back door attempt.

I often think about books from historical perspective and also wondered about these people not marrying and why. They are Lawrence and his friends in read life. They are an artistic community and not your usual group. (Kind of beatniks I think). He set the book in industrial England because that is where he, Lawrence, grew up. Lawrence also managed to get Sherwood Forest in the book. A favorite place, He liked those areas that we natural and anot industrialized. This book was written in the twenties as you mentioned. It would be equivalent to The Great Gatsby period and it has similarities to the characters found there. I enjoyed the study of the characters much more once I knew who they represented in real life.

I am not done yet, however.


message 44: by Dree (new)

Dree | 243 comments I fully understand the Great Gatsby comparison—I have read it twice and am not a fan, largely because reading about rich people partying (and their problems) does not interest me lol.

However, the sisters here aren’t rich, are they? They are teachers, their dad is a teacher. I would think of them as solid middle class (but I am not English, so I could be off on this). Not required to marry but also not necessarily able to support themselves well for life. Or respectable enough to be hired to tutor your daughter, but not to marry a son, is how I would think the Crichs would feel. But then the Crichs could not expect to marry into royalty, I think? Aren’t they the new money like in Gatsby? Even though Lawrence himself did marry minor German royalty.

And though this books screams 1920s to me, it was actually published in 1920 and apparently he spent 4 years trying to get it published. So is this also a war book of sorts, even though I don’t think it is mentioned?

(Disclosure: I have not had coffee yet.)


message 45: by Kristel (new)

Kristel (kristelh) | 3821 comments Mod
Dree wrote: "I fully understand the Great Gatsby comparison—I have read it twice and am not a fan, largely because reading about rich people partying (and their problems) does not interest me lol.

However, the..."
No, you are right, The sisters are not rich and I liked the comment that Gerald is new money. I suspect that is true. I think your analysis is pretty much right on. And you are also right that this probably is pre 1920's but you get hints of the roaring twenties and also pre Nazi hints as well. I found the historical analysis and looking at the real characters the most interesting thing about the book.


message 46: by Kristel (new)

Kristel (kristelh) | 3821 comments Mod
I finished the book today. Here is my review.

Legacy: 4
Plot: 3
Characterization: 4
Readability: 4
Achievement: 4, achieved rancor and banned status, 1001 Books
Style: 3. Disliked the long philosophical dialoguesI don't think this book was politically correct at the time though it is today and sex and language was well done, mostly subtle and not in your face.

This is a book by D. H. Lawrence that he considered his best work, in it examines relationships and societal expectations between men and women, and even men and men. There is not much plot and it is heavy on character development. The author spends way too much time talking about love on some meta level that leaves the reader exhausted as does the back and forth of these relationships between two women (sisters) and two males (best friends) in this industrial town of coal mining on the edge of Sherwood Forest. What I liked best about the book is that Birkin really is Lawrence. Gudrun is Katherine Mansfield (author of The Garden Party (1922) and Urusula is Lawrence's German wife (Frieda) and Gerald is Middleton Murry, Lawrence's closest friend. So that is how I experienced the book (the going on by Lawrence about love/not love was exhausting but I enjoyed the character study). There wasn't much of a plot but what there was involved some major events (the diving, the wandering about the mountain) and a whole lot of symbolism. Coal (industrial) soiling everything. And a lot of use of the words "inchoate, paradisial, sang froid". I was okay with the ending. I think the loss of friendship can be devastating. I have read other books by the author. I think this one, while it is Lawrence's favorite, is not mine but I did enjoy the window into Lawrence's life and the life of Katherine Mansfield in the pre 1920s. I am not sure whether this book contributes to literature today other than as a classic would contribute and it certainly is not controversial today as it was when written.


Rating 3.66


message 47: by Pip (new)

Pip | 1304 comments Once I knew that Hermione was based on Lady Ottoline Morrell, I was intrigued. I have gone off at a tangent to read Ottoline Morell: life on the grand scale, which has been a TBR of mine for decades and also the coffee table tome Bloomsbury which focuses more on the art than the literature, although it has many letters between the Bloomsbury set and many interesting portrairs of Virginia Woolfe by Duncan Grant and Roger Fry. Well, it is all background research for next month's Woolfe. I have just passed the fireside scene, so memorable in the movie with Oliver Reed and Alan Bates as Crich and Birkin respectively. It will be a race to finish by month's end. I was thrilled to find that Ottoline described one of her lovers a being like Julien Sorel in Stendhal's Scarlet and Black - a moody boy with a genius for destructive love affairs. Stendhal is my TBR choice this month. Serendipity!


message 48: by Kristel (new)

Kristel (kristelh) | 3821 comments Mod
Pip wrote: "Once I knew that Hermione was based on Lady Ottoline Morrell, I was intrigued. I have gone off at a tangent to read Ottoline Morell: life on the grand scale, which has been a TBR of mine for decade..."

I love when all a group of books can be read as companion reads. Sounds like a great month for you.


message 49: by Jenni (new)

Jenni (sprainedbrain) | 71 comments I finished the book today... I'm going to try to answer the questions!

1. How did you experience the book? Were you engaged immediately, or did it take you a while to "get into it"? How did you feel reading it? I read The Rainbow earlier this month, so I was already familiar with Lawrence's way of beautifully describing things (sometimes over describing), and that part of this book engaged me. However, I struggled a little more with this one because it's not in the least plot driven. I kept waiting for something to happen, and until the end, nothing much really did.

2. Describe the main characters... All four of the main characters concern themselves very much with societal norms/expectations with regards to men and women. So much angst and introspection, especially with the sisters and Birkin. I do think that Birkin and Gerald loved each other as more than friends... probably heavier on Birkin's side.

3. Discuss the plot: was it complete, with highlights of major events, complete?
As I said before, I didn't really find much of a plot - I wouldn't say it had twists and turns, but it was very rambling and so not predictable at all. Some things happen, and everyone thinks about it, and then some more things happen.

4. Talk about the book's structure. It is a continuous story, moves forward chronologically, and it's told from all 4 of the main characters viewpoints at times. It's not hard to follow at all. I listened to the audiobook, and the story does flow along nicely.

5. What main ideas—themes—does the author explore? sexuality and societal acceptance/norms at the time of writing. What it means to love and be loved.

6. What passages strike you as insightful, even profound? Perhaps a bit of dialog that's funny or poignant or that encapsulates a character? I didn't really find anything insightful or profound in my reading... there were moments when I laughed, mainly in passages dealing with the women. Some of the language they used: 'How fearfully good! How frightfully nice!' I really liked the diving scene and also the scene at the end when Birkin comes to Gerald.

7. Is the ending satisfying? I'm satisfied that the book ended!

8. Have you read other books by the same author? Only The Rainbow - I preferred it to this one, but I do enjoy Lawrence's style, even though it's very philosophical and moody.

9. I gave the book 3/5 stars on Goodreads. I'm glad I read it, but don't think it will have a lasting impact on me. I'm certain it had a more significant impact on people when it was first published, but I don't think it's controversial in today's world.


message 50: by Daisey (new)

Daisey | 222 comments 1. How did you experience the book? Were you engaged immediately, or did it take you a while to "get into it"? How did you feel reading it?
I listened to this book on audio mostly while driving to and from work. If I had been chosen to take the time to read it in print or without this group, I'm pretty sure I would have bailed. I never did "get into it" for a few reasons. For one thing, I really struggle with books in which I don't like or care for any of the characters or at least respect them for something they are trying to accomplish.

2. Describe the main characters—personality traits, motivations, and inner qualities.
I don't feel like I really have anything to add to what has already been said, but I might have liked Gudrun a little bit more than the other characters.

3. Discuss the plot: was it complete, with highlights of major events, complete?
I found this book very character based, without much plot to drive it. I think this was one of the other reasons that I did not enjoy it much, I wanted to feel like the story was going somewhere.

4. Talk about the book's structure.
The book does progress chronologically and gives the viewpoints of all four of the main characters.

5. What main ideas—themes—does the author explore?
The book explores themes of love and shares ideas of different types of love from the traditional expectations.

6. What passages strike you as insightful, even profound? Perhaps a bit of dialog that's funny or poignant or that encapsulates a character? Maybe there's a particular comment that states the book's thematic concerns?
I didn't find this book especially insightful, but I did feel that a few scenes were very compellingly written. For example, the scene with the horse and the diving scene that have already been mentioned. I also appreciated the description of the tobogganing in the snow.

7. Is the ending satisfying? If so, why? If not, why not...and how would you change it?
I agree with Jenni, I was satisfied to make it to the end of this book! I didn't care enough about the characters to really have strong feelings about the way it ended.

8. Have you read other books by the same author?
No, this is the first one.

9. Give us your review, is this a book you should read before you die? Does it have a significant contribution to literature in its day and relevance for today? This book was controversial in its time. Is it still?
I can see why this book was controversial when it was written, but I don't think it is now and I'm not sure why it's considered an important book to read. I think some of the description was the best part, but that level of writing can be found in plenty of other books with a great story as well.


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