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Old 10-08-2018, 09:51 PM   #16
darryl
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Does anyone else wish to comment on this book? It has been some days since the last post. In the meantime I'm going to comment further. Was the ending in fact a happy one? Carol had effectively chosen Therese over her daughter. This of course is what Therese wanted. Though I doubt it was much of a choice to make anyway. By that stage Carol's contact with her daughter was at the discretion of her ex-husband and his family, subject to her complete obedience to their wishes and unlikely to be more than minimal. She was never going to play any more than a peripheral role in her daughter's life. So her choice perhaps did not have the significance which Therese attached to it.
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Old 10-08-2018, 11:53 PM   #17
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Still going slow this month. I’m at 75% now. The happy ending is supposed to be a significant thing about this book. I’m curious what other books it is being compared to. Does anyone know?
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Old 10-09-2018, 01:28 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Bookworm_Girl View Post
...The happy ending is supposed to be a significant thing about this book. I’m curious what other books it is being compared to. Does anyone know?
I had wondered the same thing. There is a Wikipedia page on Lesbian Literature and it said something about pre-1950s American lesbian literature having unhappy endings as then it escaped the censor by its depiction of such relationships as being unfortunate rather than being promoted. But I don't recall it giving any examples of such American novels and I don't know of any myself.

As far as among the English writers I know; in Radclyffe Hall's well known late 1920s The Well of Loneliness Stephen (the main female character) has an anguished mind in the last chapter (as best as I remember, but I may read it again), I don't recall an unhappy ending in Lawrence's The Rainbow (but I read that long ago), and while I have not read it I could not see any claim that Virginia Woolf's well known Orlando had an unhappy ending (someone who has read it may be able to clarify?).

So, as far as I found, there is a Wikipedia claim that earlier American novels, which they do not name, had unhappy endings, and among English ones there is The Well of Loneliness.

EDIT: For anyone else interested in a copy of The Well of Loneliness it is well out of copyright in 50 and "pure" 70 year countries, and I found a copy in Project Gutenberg Australia but filed under author being 'Hall' (but not in Project Gutenberg nor the Mobileread Library, as far as I could see, so I assume it is still in copyright in the USA). Kobo has a number of paid ebook versions served to New Zealand (we are 50 years) and I assume Amazon will do so too.

Last edited by AnotherCat; 10-09-2018 at 01:59 AM.
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Old 10-09-2018, 04:12 AM   #19
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[...] Was the ending in fact a happy one? Carol had effectively chosen Therese over her daughter. This of course is what Therese wanted. Though I doubt it was much of a choice to make anyway. By that stage Carol's contact with her daughter was at the discretion of her ex-husband and his family, subject to her complete obedience to their wishes and unlikely to be more than minimal. She was never going to play any more than a peripheral role in her daughter's life. So her choice perhaps did not have the significance which Therese attached to it.
Well, "happy" is always in the eye of the beholder. To me there was an unexpected mature reality to the conclusion - something you don't see all that often in romantic fiction. Carol and Therese separated, sorted out their lives on their own terms, and only then did they come back together to see if they could make a go of it. I really liked that about the book, that their coming together at the end was a matter of choice - real choice because each of the women had realistic alternatives that had not existed in the same way earlier.

I think Carol came to the realisation that Harge was exerting his power, and would do so on any grounds - Carol's relationship with another woman was just the current case in point, it might equally well have been a relationship with another man. So she chose to stand by her own principles as far as she was able while still allowing some connection with her daughter.

Therese had taken the time (had been forced to) to see more of the world and more of the opportunities she had in front of her. The Therese that faces Carol at the end is not the girl awed by Carol at the start; Therese is now someone with a better idea of her own worth. She might need more time for that to settle in, but at least she is starting from a place closer to equality ... indeed, in those final moments the "eager greeting that Therese had never seen before" seemed, to me, a signal of Carol showing her need in a way that only Therese had ever admitted before.

Last edited by gmw; 10-09-2018 at 09:02 AM. Reason: typo - rather belatedly spotted
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Old 10-12-2018, 09:57 PM   #20
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Therese's naivety and innocence was frustrating at times. Yet these qualities seem to be the very things that attracted Carol to her. In fact, it seems to me that Carol was so enjoying this game that she was reluctant to see it end, hence the delay in the physical consummation of the relationship. This, and perhaps also a concern for Therese's youth and whether she knew what she really wanted.
Carol too wanted something more in her life, and the initial infatuation at the start of the relationship was providing that for both of them. Carol feared that once the relationship was consummated she would grow bored, and in fact seemed somewhat surprised when she did not.
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Old 10-21-2018, 09:41 PM   #21
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I finally finished the book! This past month has been my slowest of the year for reading. Ultimately it was a very human story about love and finding one's identity in the world. I really enjoyed the writing style.

I liked the original title best. Happiness is in the eye of the beholder. There was a price for their happiness. Carol had to sacrifice her relationship with her daughter at the whims of her ex-husband. One also wonders if they stayed together in the future.

Therese's naivety was frustrating. I felt that at times she was too naive and at other times she seemed older than her age. Although by the end there was a clear progression in her coming of age story.

I paired reading this book with listening to the audiobook This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel. It is a contemporary coming of age tale about finding one's identity and acceptance in the world. A beautiful story about a family with a transgender child based on the author's own experiences as a mother.
http://www.lauriefrankel.net/this-is...always-is.html
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