Thursday, 12 July 2007

The Rachel Papers

Yes, more Amis for me, this time from Martin. This has been one of those slow-for-no-reason reads that tend to happen when motivation is sliding and Other Things (mainly sleep, recovering from flu and coughing up your lungs) take priority. Despite that, I did enjoy it alot and I've only just realised with the help of Wikipedia that there is a film version.

OK so the thing is, the main character of this book is like a straight version of me, in too many ways. Except he's smarter and more well-written-and-read. He's described in the blurb as a "precociously intelligent and highly sexed teenager", which leads to quite an eye opening read; but it's not these aspects that I want to focus on.

Since I'm keenly aware that you - my Zero Readers Out There - are waiting with bated breath .. here is the point. Well not here, but next paragraph:

The end of the book, after Charles' infatuation with Rachel and eventual conquest, focuses on his realisation that he doesn't want to be with her. For one thing, the sex life is too mundane, he wants it much dirtier. In the last few pages when Charles approaches his Father about his marriage and misttress, he has "no moral energy left" and fully understands that marriage (and any long-term relationship) is a compromise. This also ties in well with his Brother-In-Law Norman's reluctance to let Jenny have his baby - not because he doesn't want children (let her adopt!) but because he doesn't want to screw her once she's had a child - "like waving a flag in space".

I've been in the same situation as Charles a number of times, and not as a teenager. Did Charles learn from this young experience and change? Or is it a pattern that he will repeat, as I have? If not, does that make me immature? And my real question is this - if I identify so well with these shallow male characters - the teen who thinks he's in love and then needs to escape fast once he's succeeded in his conquest; the twenty-something who is happy with his wife but sleeps around and doesn't want her to be a Mother for his own selfish sexual reasons; the father who has a mistress but won't leave his wife because "it's all too complicated and expensive" - am I a bad person? Are most guys like this? Is it exclusively a male trait? And how do I fit into that as a gay male? What say you!?

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