Banned Books Week: Lady Chatterley's Lover

Monday, September 26, 2016

Lady Chatterley’s Lover
by D.H. Lawrence
Lady Constance Chatterley marries her husband shortly before World War I. He returns from the war paralyzed from the waist down. Their relationship continues to stagnant in the countryside until she has an affair with their gamekeeper, Oliver Mellors. The book was considered incredibly racy it was published in 1928. The full novel wasn’t even published in England until 1960. I decided to read this because it’s one of the most banned books of all time.  
To me, the novel was a gross simplification of love. Physical love is part of relationships, but it’s not the only element. Lawrence seemed to think that without the physical connection there was no way that Constance and her husband Clifford could ever love each other. Her superficial connection with Oliver never rang true to me. 

Oliver Mellors’ character was hard to stomach. He’s racist, homophobic, selfish, and quick to lose his temper. The only thing Constance actually has in common with him is their mutual physical attraction. It’s hard to believe Lawrence’s premise that this is the most powerful relationship she can have. It would be more believable if Constance had an affair with him, began to understand the importance of the physical side of relationships and then found someone that satisfied both the physical and mental desires that she had.

BOTTOM LINE: It’s a classic and I’m glad I read it, but it’s definitely not a new favorite. Lawrence writes some beautiful passages, but the characters and the plot fell short.

The book was banned in countries all over the world. There was even a trial because of the content. You can read more about it here

Past Banned Books Week Posts 
2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, and 2011.


JoAnn said...

I felt the same way! My book club read this for Banned Book Week years ago... think I was the only one the ended up finishing the book.

ErinPaperbackstash said...

Great review.

I find that many classics definitely aren't the best books quality wise.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

JoAnn - Well way to go you and me! It was rough.

Paperback Stash - I've found the opposite with most of the classics I've read. Once I factor in the context of the time I usually am impressed with the timelessness of the writing and character development. This one definitely was an exception for me.