Of Human Bondage

Maugham, William Somerset. Mr Maugham Himself: Of Human Bondage. New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1954.

I have to give fair warning – this story is incredibly sad and slow. It is the story of club-footed orphan Philip Carey (whom you won’t like very much) from the time of his birth until he becomes a married man.  All of his life he he has been hindered by his deformity and maybe this is what makes him so nasty. You pity him at first and as a result probably one of the saddest scenes in the entire book is before Philip turns sour, when he is just a teenager. Philip is praying to God for a normal foot. He wants to run and play like all the other boys in preparatory school. He just wants to be normal. At school he had read passage in the Bible that led him to believe that if he just prayed long enough and honestly believed in God’s work he would be healed of his deformity. Of course that doesn’t come to fruition and he is bitterly devastated. Things turn from bad to worse when a so-called friend seeks the company of other boys. Philip’s plight (like the plot) plods along painfully. Philip eventually leaves school to live in Germany for a time. He then goes to Paris to study art. By this time we are used to his callous ways. I personally started to tire of his selfishness and indifference to the people around him. I ended up not caring what happened to him. This is where my reading ended. How sad is that?

Reason read: Honoring the fact Maugham was born in the month of January. Enough said.

Author fact: Maugham was supposed to be a doctor. Turns out he was a better writer.

Book trivia: Of Human Bondage was made into a movie starring Bette Davis (in 1934). Of course it was.

BookLust Twist: From Book Lust in the chapter called “100 Good Reads, Decade By Decade: 1910s” (p 176).



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