1 – ‘Sons and Lovers’ by D.H. Lawrence

During the Christmas holidays, I happened to catch part of a ‘Home Improvement’ episode where Tim set Al straight about his relationship with his girlfriend, telling him that he had to set boundaries with his mother if he wanted things to work. I don’t really tend to follow advice from anyone called The Toolman, but it’s a shame Paul Morel, the central character of ‘Sons and Lovers’, didn’t have anyone to give him the same tip.

Paul’s almost incestuous relationship with his mother overshadows the book and prevents him from finding love or happiness with either of his two partners (the clinging, religious and frigid Miriam, and the sexual, separated woman Clara). His mother resents the way that the women in her son’s life take up so much of his time and energy; I’m pretty sure they felt the same way about her…

I enjoyed a lot about this book; coming from a working-class Midlands family myself, I could identify with the struggles Paul faced. However, his pathological attachment to his mother did wear a bit thin. This was made up for by Lawrence’s style of writing which allows you to delve deep into the protagonists’ thoughts. At times, you think that the emotions are a little exaggerated as characters seem to love and hate each other at five-minute intervals, but let’s face it, if we all examined our emotions, that’s exactly what happens.

You don’t need a toolman to tell you that…

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