One-Minute Book Reviews

October 23, 2007

D.H. Lawrence’s ‘Sons and Lovers’ (Books I Didn’t Finish)

The latest in an occasional series of posts on books I didn’t finish and why I didn’t finish them

Title: Sons and Lovers

What it is: The second novel by the English novelist D. H. Lawrence (1885–1930), best known for the much-banned Lady Chatterley’s Lover.

How much I read: The foreword, first chapter and part of the second, about 50 pages in the edition I read (not shown at right).

Why I stopped reading: The Tribe couldn’t lock up the American League pennant in the fourth game, so I had to watch the fifth on Sunday night, when I had planned to read more of the book. Then life intervened and I couldn’t get back to the novel in time to finish it for a book group I was supposed to go to tonight. Good-bye, book group meeting.

Comments: The pages that I read involve the early married life of the Gertrude and Walter Morel, as mismatched as Emma and Charles Bovary. Gertrude — well-bred, intelligent, and endowed with a high moral sensibility — chafes against the limits of her life as the wife of a good-hearted coal miner of little income and less refinement. Some critics have said that Lawrence portrays women too harshly. But his treatment of Gertrude’s frustrations in these pages was poignant. Lawrence deals much more directly than many of his contemporaries with the frighteningly rapid loss of self that women of his day risked when they married.

Best line in what I read: On the married life of young Gertrude Morel: “She went indoors, wondering if things were going to alter. She was beginning to realize that they would not. She seemed so far away from her girlhood, she wondered if it were the same person walking heavily up the back garden at Bottoms, as had run so lightly on the breakwater at Sheerness, ten years earlier.

“ ‘What have I to do with it!’ she said to herself. ‘What have I do with all this. Even the child I am going to have! It doesn’t seem as if I were taken into account.’

“Sometimes life takes hold of one, carries the body along, takes hold of one’s history, and yet is not real, but leaves one’s self as it were slurred over.”

Worst line in what I read: “ … and on a newspaper spread out upon the hearth rug, a myriad of crescent-shaped curls …”

Furthermore: The Reader’s Catalog (Jason Epstein, 1989) gives this one-line summary of Sons and Lovers: “The talents of a sensitive young man are liberated from a coal-mining background by an intelligent but dominating mother.”

Published: 1913 (first edition)


© 2007 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.


  1. …Interesting concept. Me thinks you could create a whole separate blog about ‘books I didn’t finish’… Currently plowing through Volume 2 of ‘In Seach of Lost Time’ the so-called ‘classic’ by Marcel Proust, I’m bored out of my gourd…Such a snivelling, churlish, neurotic wet wimp..Likewise, paper wasted on Barry Callaghan’s latest ‘effort’ – Between Trains, such rubbish, brutish crap unworthy of any kind of serious literary consideration, and yet, he is lauded, ‘cuz he’s ‘been around’, has been ‘in the scene’ and is well connected to the ‘established’ publishing community in Canada – yuck. WASTED PAPER – really makes me think of DEAD TREES. Not what the Creator intended….Cheers, canadada

    Comment by canadada — October 24, 2007 @ 4:11 pm | Reply

  2. Someone could definitely fill a blog with comments on unfinished books. I haven’t read all of “In Search of Lost Time” — only part of it, in French, so I’m not sure if I could finish it in English.

    But at least you’re reading the version called “In Search of Lost Time.” I thought that the old “Remembrance of Things Past” was a terrible title — redundant and a bad translation of “A la recherche du temps perdu.” As though you could remember “things future” …

    Comment by 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom — October 24, 2007 @ 7:29 pm | Reply

  3. I love these unfinished book posts of yours as well. I finally stopped slogging away at books I’m not enjoying after I heard a figure of how many books you can possibly read in your lifetime. It was some ridiculously (and depressingly) small number like 60 shelf feet. Eek!

    Comment by Laura — October 25, 2007 @ 5:19 pm | Reply

  4. Thanks, Laura. A friend of mine says that she doesn’t subscribe to magazines because it’s “an investment in guilt.” Don’t you sometimes feel that way about buying books, too (especially overrated bestsellers or classics you know are great but just aren’t to your taste)?

    Comment by 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom — October 25, 2007 @ 7:13 pm | Reply

  5. Hmmm. Trouble is I am a carnivore when it comes to reading…both good and bad…always looking for that ‘zinger’ voice, that ‘new light’, the wise and witty…Ergo, the Proust sits idle..but in the interim, have polished off some really good ones, like – ‘A Brief History of the Smile’ by Angus Trumble, such a DELICIOUS and inventive read…Also, ‘This is Your Brain on Music’, by D. Levitan (might have spelt his last name wrong…), true, hard work, a bit of a ‘brainy’ slog, but very interesting and informative about evolving theories re: mind/brain matter(s). I’ve just been given Julian Barnes, ‘Arthur & George’, and am looking forward to it. I guess I’ll try to pawn the Proust. Magazines are a guilty pleasure at the best of times.

    I’m new to the bloggy thingy, so I’m not sure how to ‘tag’ you to my own site so that I can ‘refer’ and ‘reference’ back to you…What do I do? You seem to have a COMPLETE handle on ‘the basics’. Look forward to your words, Cheers, c

    Comment by canadada — October 26, 2007 @ 4:04 pm | Reply

  6. The things that refer back to your site are called pingbacks. And I suspect they’re pretty easy to insert on WordPres.

    But when I visit another site, I never insert them, because it seems a little redundant. When you leave a comment on a site like mine and you’re signed into WP, an automatic link gets inserted that people can click on to go back to your site. (I’ll click on your username so you’ll see that this works; when I do this, One-Minute Book Reviews will show your stats page as a “referrer.”)

    You can also hand-insert a hyperlink to your site into a comment just by typing the URL preceded by http:// and followed by one slash. If you do that, people have two ways of connecting with your site. And adding a pingback would be a third. If you want to find out how to do this, you could go to the WordPress forum on Pings and someone who knows how will tell you. But why not start just by inserting the hyperlink at the end of a comment? Most bloggers will allow it if you’re not too egregious and seemingly making irrelevant comments just for the link.

    Hope you get a good price for the Proust.

    Comment by 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom — October 26, 2007 @ 7:44 pm | Reply

  7. […] wrote an interesting post today on DH Lawrenceâs âSons and Loversâ (Books I Didnât Finish)Here’s a quick […]

    Pingback by Ordinside.Com » DH Lawrence’s ‘Sons and Lovers’ (Books I Didn’t Finish) — October 28, 2007 @ 1:36 am | Reply

  8. Thanks Janice. I think I’ll just mark you as a ‘favourite’ and drop in from time to time …

    I’m going to ‘drop’ the Proust at a random bus stop…Perhaps someone will enjoy this ‘found object’ … Cheers,c

    Comment by canadada — October 29, 2007 @ 9:38 am | Reply

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