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Disobedience ❮Reading❯ ➹ Disobedience ➱ Author Jane Hamilton – From Jane Hamilton author of the beloved New York Times bestsellers A Map of the World and The Book of Ruth comes a warmly humorous poignant novel about a young man his mother's e mail and the often s From Jane Hamilton author of the beloved New York Times bestsellers A Map of the World and The Book of Ruth comes a warmly humorous poignant novel about a young man his mother's e mail and the often surprising path of infidelityHenry Shaw a high school senior is about as comfortable with his family as any seventeen year old can be His father Kevin teaches history with a decidedly socialist tinge at the Chicago private school Henry and his sister attend His mother Beth who plays the piano in a group specializing in antiue music is a loving attentive wife and parent Henry even accepts the offbeat behavior of his thirteen year old sister Elvira who is obsessed with Civil War reenactments and insists on dressing in handmade Union uniforms at inopportune timesWhen he stumbles on his mother's e mail account however Henry realizes that all is not as it seems There under the name Liza a name that Henry innocently established for her is undeniable evidence that his mother is having an affair with one Richard Polloco a violin maker and unlikely paramour who nonetheless has a very appealing way with words and a romantic spirit that in Henry's estimation his own father woefully lacksAgainst his better judgment Henry charts the progress of his mother's infatuation her feelings of euphoria of guilt and of profound touching confusion His knowledge of Beth's secret life colors his own tentative explorations of love and sex with the ephemeral Lily and casts a new light on the arguments usually focused on Elvira in which his parents regularly indulge Over the course of his final year of high school Henry observes each member of the family trying to anticipate when they will find out about the infidelity and what the knowledge will mean to each of themHenry's observations set down ten years after that fateful year are much than the old story of adultery his mother deemed her affair to be With her inimitable grace and compassion Jane Hamilton has created a novel full of gentle humor and rich insights into the nature of love and the deep mysterious bonds that hold families together.

10 thoughts on “Disobedience

  1. Sarah Sarah says:

    This book grated against my skin but I wouldn't say it was a bad book and the secondary character a die hard 11 year old civil war re enactor who also happened to be a girl was fascinating and I loved her I kept wanting to stuff a sock in the narrator her brother's mouth to hear about her It was like being invited to someone else's family reunion and finding yourself really interested in everyone in the family except for the one pouty self involved teenager you are seated next to and who monopolizes conversation for the next three hours while picking at his acne And sighing A lot Also this is one of those rare rare books for me in that my inability to be a teenage boy who is secretly monitoring his mother's on line affair with a man not his father really limited my ability to be interested or sympathetic to the character or his struggles I kept just feeling sort of grossed out that he was so into the details of his mom's affair Yet again Jane Hamilton managed to make me feel like she was treating the reader with contempt and yet again I read the whole thing and the writing was very good and the ideas were interesting Jane Hamilton I shake my fist ot your ueasily sadistic writing

  2. Danita M Danita M says:

    I have enjoyed some Jane Hamilton books than others This one was very good Her prose is beautiful and her subject matter interesting I liked the uirkiness of the characters Civil War reenactments musicians that play music most people have never heard Their interests sometimes obsessions with the past sometimes made me forget that the setting was modern day until it started talking about e mail again I particularly liked that she chose to tell the story that is largely about a woman’s adultery from the point of view of her son This perspective was fascinating especially because he can not identify with her as an adult or as a woman which makes her actions so mysterious to him I would definitely recommend this novel

  3. Holli Holli says:

    I really liked this book I listened to the audio version narrated by Robert Sean Leonard who did a great job Like Hamilton's other book When Madeline Was Young this one is also sort of a coming of age story narrated by a teen aged boy but this one is much effective I found this book to be very humorous It's a certain kind of humor a hint of sarcasm but not meanspirited Maybe droll is the right word I heard Jane Hamilton speak earlier this year and I was surprised at how funny she is She was a hoot Most of her books are so serious but this one reflects her brand of humor sort of Garrison Keillor meets Anne Lamott That being said the story is not comedic Henry the narrator is having a rough year what with his mom's affair and everything but there's this subtle humor running through the novel that really kept my attention I enjoyed all the characters Hamilton does a good job of making them very human They are kind of uirky but very real I think I know some of them I especially liked the resolution of the book and what it says about marriage The good news is that when I got to the end of the tape I realized that it was abridged So now I get to read the book sometime and there will be of it

  4. Lisa Lisa says:

    Disobedience is about a year in the life of 17 year old Henry Shaw He is dealing with the discovery of his mother's secret affair his sister's obsession with Civil War re enactments plus a crush on a girl in another city Once I started listening to it I realized it was a 5 12 hour abridged audiobook I liked the narrator and was curious what an abridged experience would be like so decided to continue Apparently there is no unabridged audio of this book Jane Hamilton is a fine writer and I found the novel uite engaging but have no idea how to rate it It did seem truncated Why would you abridge a 273 page novel? They must have cut it down by about 4 hours but why? I have the printed version here but probably won't investigate further because I feel satiated enough with my edited experience of the novel

  5. Sheba Sheba says:

    This book just made so much sense How Miss Jane Hamilton wrote a boy and not just any boy but a lovely funny bare boy is inconceivable to me It's a love story between a son and his mother It's a storing of weaning a boy who becomes a man through vigilance over his mother's personal correspondence with her lover Watching her fall in love betray her husband and her family allows him to fall out of love with the woman who raised him and judge and differentiate from the woman she is An awkward gorgeous confused woman A very human woman He grows to hate her but with a sort of kindness because afterall it's a fine line and this is a weaning not a matricideAnd I am making it sound tragic and ponderous and incestuous; but that's not itI have had three boyfriends who loved their mothers than they would ever love me And when you are tabled from the start it's never really a competition sex is twisted and deep but their eyes are veiled They value virginity but treat you like a whore All their shirts smell of guilt They are the worst kind of men Except for the kind that don't love their mothers at all Those I run fast fromSo I loved loved this boy Weaning is hard and he was so brave He gently carefully as he put it put her over his knee and cracked her in two; but with the deepest and most profound love I would have been curious to meet him as an adult and his sister too Devastating climax and all that but the best thing about this book was it made me laugh out loud and without warning

  6. Katie Katie says:

    This book is terrible At first I thought it was because it's been a while since I read something literary I tend to like populist novels But the I read the I felt like I was slogging through mud The first 100 pages are so repetitive so circular Nothing happens Less than nothing happens If you've read the first 10 pages then effectively you've read the next 90 maybe even the next 150 Henry Shaw's mother is having an affair an affair he meticulously documents and which allows him to hold the moral high ground for the entire book The odd thing about his meticulous documentation is that it's so repetitive and shallow We learn the same few details over and over While he has her personal thoughts on the matter from hacking her email her emotions her reasoning is so strangely absent from the entire thing that the book essentially becomes about Henry an 18 year old self involved teenager and that is about as boring as it soundsI cannot stress how little happens in this book and how much the details are superficially turned over and over I will give an exampleHenry learns of the affair and wonders about telling the two female friends in his life Lily his Madonna and Karen his chaste bodhisattva He imagines several versions of telling Lily he imagines her reactions he imagines how it will bring them closer He imagines her visiting Then she visits and he tells her and it is exactly like he imagines This is not even a chance we are given to see him as an unreliable narrator Then he imagines telling Karen he imagines what she will say and then we are told no seeing There is not enough dialogue in this book to fill a single chapter of other books that she reacts in the exact way he imagined she would and it makes him furious Because she put it in perspective and gave him context and he wants it to just be his Rather than belonging to his mother and father who it shouldThe weird thing is that I kept slogging through hoping something anything would happen that there would be any action or dialogue and just when I was on the point of giving up about 210 pages in action did start happening And it was terribleUp until that point Henry's moral superiority and version of his mother's affair had seemed fairly teenager and not really that malicious It seemed self involved and a way of putting this complex story into a superficial format But when his sister view spoiler is outed as a girl at her civil war reenactment camp he literally misses the assault the actual things that are happening and sees instead a bunch of innocent men tearing literally shredding he's left holding shreds the clothes off a 13 year old girl as an innocent prank And when his mother violently threatens them in order to get them to stop assaulting his sister and to put her down Henry sees it as a terrible over reaction as his mother behaving like a fool It's frankly distressing because even when confronted with the reality it's like he can't stop seeing his mother as the harlot as a stupid woman that when we as readers find out that his father knew for a while and that the relationship between his mother and father is complicated than Henry can understand Henry refuses to accept that hide spoiler

  7. Sara Sara says:

    Books like Disobedience aren't normally my cup of tea But this melancholy coming of age story goes well beyond the usual book club fare The story of sweet sad Henry Shaw and his amazingly disfunctional but incredibly compelling family is so very much worth reading Its one of my go to novels and I've thumbed through it many timesFrom his border line Civil War reenacting sister who wears rebel grey everywhere they go to a passionate very imperfect mother everyone in Henry's world is worth coming to knowThis is a uiet book One for an evening in spring when its starting to stay light out longer and you sit on your back porch and meander slowly through the end of a boys childhood into that wretched wonderful world we all have to enter sometime

  8. Kirsten Kirsten says:

    Aaaaaaand we're back to 2 out of 5 starsI really need to make a shelf called Mom Books because that's really what this one was I had a hard time figuring out what type of person Henry was; his narrative voice was really kind ofmuddled almost? Like was he 30 17 22? WHO'S TO SAY His vocabulary and prose didn't really seem to gel all the time and really not that much happens in this book I have to assume that I marked it as To Read because the whole infidelity thing seemed interesting but #spoiler this book doesn't even really get into that part of the plot at all I dunno maybe I'm so unsatisfied because nothing was really resolved at all most importantly Henry's own feelings regarding his mom's less than desirable behaviour The most interesting part of this book was how he referred to his mother using like 8 different names Liza38 Beth Liza Liz Elizabeth etc etc It could have been a really interesting commentary on detachment maturation familial bonds and separation anxiety but nope Hamilton decided not to go there and instead make a book with the shortest bursts of interesting ness but a good font so my eyes weren't entirely unhappy while reading it the whole way through #disobedience? #likedisappointment #mombooksPS there was like no dialogue in this book and I found that super hard to read and Henry just kept prattling on and on about nothing leaving me to think to myself doesn't this ranga have any friends I mean SRSLY

  9. Manik Sukoco Manik Sukoco says:

    A rite of passage story about Henry who at 17 has discovered his mother's infidelity by reading her email messages Disobedience explores complex family and gender themes Marital strife the disillusionment of a young man with his mother a pubescent girl's rejection of her female self and the desire of all members of the family to live in some form of fantasy rather than reality form the spine of this storyJane Hamilton has made some bold decisions as an author in the writing of Disobedience Henry's imagination about the affair is the primary source of information about his mother's feelings Hamilton loops back and forth through time as she follows Henry's description of the events of his senior year from his vantage point as an adult almost ten years later Hamilton has written a novel about infidelity in which the wife the husband and the lover are all still likable wherein no one person is painted with a black and white brush The Shaw family that Henry observes is both distanced by time and brought forward by passion in such a way that the reader is never at rest never lulled into an easy acceptance of the narrative lineI highly recommend Disobedience for a thought or discussion provoking read Just don't expect it to be unchallenging

  10. Stacy Stacy says:

    This book is too And everyone in it is too Too wordy Too uniue Too stereotyped Too obsessive Too extreme I mean he couldn't just be a political father he is a socialist with a history addiction The mom isn't just a musician she practically exudes music in her breath The son isn't just a teenage boy with typical angst and self discovery issues he is amiable polite socially acceptable to English dancing parents and voyeuristic The daughter I can't even make a too statement for her because she wears sabers everywhere and has violent hate filled moments that are related to mild dispersions against Civil War generals I mean she's not believable on any scale nor is the family's reaction to her If this is Jane Hamilton and based on other reviews it is then the author and I will happily part ways now

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