Book Review: Lady Chatterley’s Lover by DH Lawrence
Preview…Do you enjoy novels that tell a love story that is wildly passionate, yet still believable? Do you feel compelled to read a book that has strong socio-political elements and a deeper meaning? If you like either of these, then you need to read D.H. Lawrence’s “Lady Chatterley’s Lover”. This book is so enjoyable, I read the whole thing in one sitting!
The novel centers on Connie, or Lady Chatterley. She and her sisters grew up under the guidance of bohemian free-thinking parents who encouraged the girls to explore their sexuality at an early age. Later she is married to the stodgy, intellectual aristocrat, Clifford, who was rendered paraplegic shortly after their wedding due to his involvement in the war. The accident caused Clifford to lose his pride, in addition to the use of his legs. Over time, Connie becomes increasingly alienated from her husband and his lifestyle. Her first journey into infidelity is with an upstart noveau-riche playwright, Michaelis. He is also isolate from the inner circle of high society, even though he possesses all of the same characteristics of the bourgeois Clifford which are so unappealing to Connie.
One day while wandering in the woods, Connie spots Clifford’s new groundskeeper, Oliver Mellors. Everything about Mellors yells ‘virile,’ from his rippling physique to his working class mannerisms. After a few cat-and-mouse encounters, Mellors finally allows himself to give in to Connie’s allure. What starts as a purely lustful and carnally sexual series of encounters eventually becomes a deeper, more personal bond of love. They are divided not only by clear-cut class distinctions but also by other inconvenient encumbrances (such as Connie’s husband).
“Lady Chatterley’s Lover” is a very explicit story of sex and love, but it’s the underlying sociological elements that make this novel a classic. This story is wrought with Marxist themes pertaining to class barriers — industrialization and man versus machine, just to name a few. What do you think? Can this love between an upper class woman and a lower class man set in the early 20th century succeed, or are the boundaries that divide us far too difficult to overcome? You’ll have to read the book to find out what D.H. Lawrence’s opinion.
You may like this book if… you enjoy lurid stories of love and lust, you have a grounding in Marxist theory, you are intrigued by books that stir up controversy and even have their own court cases, you like literature from the post-WWI era, you are interested in gender roles within different social strata, you’re not afraid of a few f-bombs, you like bodice-rippers with entrenched lessons, you enjoyed the TV series and film Sex-and-the-City (it seems the show’s producer directly borrowed a few of their plot points from this novel)
You may not like this book if… you don’t want to read graphic depictions of sex and the sometimes vulgar language that accompanies it, you find it impossible to understand dialects like Derbyshire or Cockney, you feel too sorry for impotent Clifford and his wayward wife, you don’t like open-ended endings