Category Archives: Sons and Lovers

Loved Way of All Flesh!

I loved this book!! There enough said.

Okay that is another form of Bleating  short and concise, no work for me and you know I liked the book. You all should be sitting up in your seats wondering “Why did you love it? Tell, Andi Tell!!” Okay my blog readers I will tell!

Well there are few items that make this book a good for me. First and foremost, a happy ending. I love happy endings. I said it before and I will say it again – I love happy endings. Real life is has too many sad endings, I read for enjoyment, therefore, I want a neat and wrapped up ending (big, huge pink bow preferred). Next, Butler is a superb author. His command of the English language coupled with the ability to weave a story is superior. Heather and I discussed this one day. What made this book so great? Seriously, it is a book about yet another dysfunctional family. Why did we get sucked in? I think it is the way that Butler writes that does it. He starts with the great grandfather and then continues to wend his way through the history of the family.  It isn’t until he introduces our main character that he begins to write from the character point of view. He delves deeper as he draws you in closer to our ‘hero’. I wanted to know what Ernest wore, said, did, thought… everything. Yet as you look at the story from a 10,000 feet level it isn’t that intriguing. It is a story about a guy that doesn’t get along with his parents and doesn’t like his job. That is the story of most of the population. It is the prose, the words, the narrative…. the author that draws you in. Butler is fantastic! I was going to add in quotes but Heather did that in her post ( Heather’s Butler Post). (More Bleating!!) Chalk up another one for the Son-Mother issues list for this one. Wowza! I just hope my son doesn’t become a successful author. Odds are that it will be a mother issue that does it and what will that say about me?

A few deep thoughts from Andi’s brain on this tome –

We follow Ernest from his childhood through adulthood. He is brought up under certain beliefs (I won’t spoil the story for you) yet the beliefs are challenged each day as he matures. Butler addresses hard subjects such as religion, social classes and the family unit throughout the story. Religion seems as though it would be a boring and stuffy topic in a piece of fiction but not so. Butler has Ernest learn the most of his faith from a poor neighbor that would not be suspected to have read the bible but to have milled over the inconsistencies of the New Testament. Butler through the use of Ernest’s father to show the change in the religious ways during this time as well as the thoughts of Ernest to express questions of faith. One may think that questioning faith leads to atheism or some other nonsense. This is not the case, through Ernest’s struggles with his faith we follow his journey of not blindly following religion but that of questioning and finding reasoning to discover – yes there is a God. This is a very difficult way to write and not cross over into religious fanatic. Butler did it. (Yes, I will give the nod to James Joyce on being able to do this also.)

Next, was the notion that good people come from all classes of our society. We all know this in principle but Butler does a great job of showing it to us through everyday events. Ernest’s landlady is a Madam yet is one of the most trustworthy of people in his life. The rich and privileged Pontifex family had a lot to learn about parenting while the family Ernest entrusted with his children was of the working class. Just lots of great thought provoking yet readable (unlike Lowry) ideas. One of our Twitter followers said this was a satire, I don’t think I agree. What do you think?

I put this one up there as one of the best we read so far. I really enjoyed it!

Grab a book, any book AND READ!!

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My Friend Paul – Sons and Lovers

OK, here’s my take on Sons and Lovers. Much has been said in Goodreads, Sparknotes (did I say, Sparknotes? No, I didn’t check anything there!), random reviews, etc. regarding Paul’s near-incenstuous relationship with his mother.

However, his relationship with his mother makes no difference at all. Paul is gay. He would not have married any of the women he befriended, no matter what his mother thought of them! He is just not romantically interested in any of them.

I don’t want to stereotype Paul, but he enjoys a close relationship with his mother and he enjoys the friendly company of the factory girls he works with. He’s always chatting with them over lunch and remarking over their dresses and hairstyles. While he enjoys his friendly companionship with both Clara and Miriam, it is difficult for him to take it further:

“Sex had become so complicated in him that he would have denied that he ever could want Clara or Miriam or any woman whom he knew. Sex desire was a sort of detached thing, that did not belong to a woman.” Page 252, location 3938

Yes, it’s complicated because Paul would rather have the company of a man, such as Miriam’s brother Edgar.

“It was a great bitterness to Miriam to see herself deserted by Paul for Edgar, who seemed so much lower. But the youth was very happy with her elder brother. The two men spent afternoon together on the land or in the loft doing carpentry, when it rained. And they talked together, or Paul taught Edgar the songs he himself had learned from Annie at the piano.” Page 142, location 2275

Paul does enjoy other male friendships as well, such as when he embarked on a four day holiday with his friend Newton.

“The two young men simply enjoyed themselves. Paul was like another man. None of himself remained – no Clara, no Miriam, no mother that fretted him.” Page 343, location 5236

I’m not sure if we’re to take the above passage, and earlier passages regarding Edgar, and infer that Paul enjoyed a sexual relationship with these men, or if he didn’t realize that he was gay and was just trying to make his way in the world with no thought to that. I hadn’t seen any other reviews mentioning Paul’s sexual orientation until I googled it, and then I saw some of the debates regarding the subject. Interestingly those seemed to center around his contentious relationship with Baxter Dawes, which was a plausible connection, but not the one that solidified this theory for me.

I’ve never been one to read into the text so far as to put words and ideas into the author’s mouth, although I feel strongly that this is what the author was implying. My high school English teacher would be proud, but that’s a post for another day!

Had this been 2011 and not 1911, I believe Paul would be able to be openly gay. He could’ve struck up a long-term relationship with Edgar, working and tending to his garden and lived his life much more happily. Or one would hope anyway! To be honest, I think his mother would’ve been fine with it too, because she would’ve always been his best gal.

Next up – Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. A classic, and a good time to join us on this journey!