Sunday, December 29, 2013


If you look up the word "lover" in the dictionary, you will find several different definitions. I have a few of my own. After reading Lady Chatterley's Lover, I think I may have added a few more. None of these, of course, could I put into words for you. Some words you must define for yourself. 

Why read Lady Chatterley's Lover? I think a better question might be,...why not? 

I recently decided it was time I read more "classics," and I certainly wanted those classics to include some of the more controversial ones from long ago. Lady Chatterley's Lover by D.H. Lawrence was originally published in Florence, Italy, in 1928 and was quite the scandal for its time. In fact, it was denied publication in England until 1960. 

When I decided to read it, I didn't think I would really find it as sordid as all that. After all, I live in the day and age when people take great joy in airing all their private affairs on national television, not to mention the general public's fascination with books like Fifty Shades of Grey. Surely, I thought, D.H. Lawrence's lovemaking scenes would be tame by comparison to today's 'standards.'

What I found might surprise you, it certainly did me. 

The book had me blushing a bit, not from overly detailed, drawn out, erotic love scenes, but from...the absolute, sheer, brutal honesty of them. It doesn't dress it up, it doesn't make it pretty, it just says it outright. I respect that. I also find it has a beauty all its own. It may be a little crass, a little crude, but - God forgive me - it speaks truths that even in today's society, no matter how much talk there is, people rarely say. 

By the way, the sex scenes do not permeate the book, like so many novels do these days that classify themselves anywhere from 'romance' to 'paranormal' to 'erotica,' and the actual scenes are fairly brief. There are, however, conversations about sex and gender roles throughout the novel, which I think are crucial to understanding the mindset of the time and, I feel, speaks volumes about it even today. 

Another surprise I found was the amount of commentary on the state of England during this time setting, just after World War I, but I suppose I should have expected it. World War I changed the face of England, and it certainly changed her heart. The novel speaks of the mood of the country at the time, the mood of its people. Lawrence is vivid in his descriptions of the landscape, the class wars, the broken men who were able to return from the war, and people struggling to find their own identities in a world that had been forever changed. 

Lady Chatterley's Lover is one of those books that I wasn't 'in love' with as I read it, although I admired the frank statements it made about society. I did, however, find myself quite fond of it after I had read it in its entirety and mulled it over a bit. It says a great deal about many things without going on and on about them. I have quite a few quotes marked, for such a small novel, and - no - none of them are sex scenes. 

If you love to read, are over the age of 18 (and, as a parent, I'd prefer to say 21), are a serious reader (you know, you read something more than Twilight and Harry Potter), and if you especially love to read novels set in England (as I do), you should read this one. It's a small novel, won't take you long. If you read it and find it wasn't quite your cup of tea, I don't think you will ever regret sipping the flavor of it. 


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