I hated this book. Plainly put this book is PWP (porn without plot). It’s the story of a young girl who loses her virginity to the love of her life, loses of the love of her life, uses her body to survive and ends up being reunited with the love of her life.
I read this book over the summer and it was a struggle. First of all there is no plot. Second of all there was a lot of rape in this book and there was a lot of people justifying that rape which made me so angry. I kept an angry journal which I will now include some of those thoughts with you, my audience.
May 20, 2017
“I’m curious to see how explicit this novel will be considering it is about a prostitute and is the most famous banned book of all time according to the cover on my copy.”
“Can men write about women’s sexuality?”
“Can a man accurately represent a woman, or vice versa?”
“Can I as a woman trust Cleeland’s interpretation of Fanny Hill?” (Basically can I trust him to write an accurate account of the life of a prostitute)
May 24, 2017
To give this a little context I was thinking of the novel Memoirs of a Geisha and how it too was written by a man and was not an actual memoir.
“What is it about prostitutes or women of pleasure that entitles men to write stories about them? What do they know of female sexuality?”
“Even my brother thinks that it’s weird that a man wrote a book about a prostitute.”
“They [the people in the brothel] are literally making Fanny feel as if she wants to be a prostitute and join this little club of theirs. That is their job but when you think about it, it sounds so evil. She’s so young and easily manipulated. She’s being bullied into accepting this life because she’s afraid of being turned out. She doesn’t know any better because her parents never expected this kind of life for her. Prostitution for some girls is a way to survive. That’s not the case for all girls especially those tricked or forced into prostitution. It’s awful but a fact of life.”
“If you make the prison comfortable enough why would anyone want to leave? She was content and happy. She was cared for and she really had no idea of what was in store for her. The book almost makes it seem as if being a prostitute is a happy life full of pleasure and while these girls may have got some pleasure from sex, I just don’t see that kind of life as being happy.”
May 25, 2017
“This man took her virginity so of course she is looking at him like he is a Greek god.” I was questioning the reliability of Fanny as a narrator in the way she described her first lover simply because he was the man who not only took her virginity but showed her love and care.
May 28, 2017
“Mrs. Jones is evil. She saw an opportunity and took it but how evil do you have to be to take advantage of a poor girl who lost her lover, and her baby and promise her to another man?”
“The female version of Casanova.” (I don’t know if I quite agree with that statement now)
May 30, 2017
pg. 80 of my version “Was the maid really resisting or did she just give up in the end because she knew it was pointless to fight? Did she resign herself to being raped because he was the master of the house or did she want him to have sex with her? It’s hard to tell what she was feeling because from Fanny’s perspective it didn’t seem like she was putting up much of a fight but that could be because the girl didn’t feel as if she could put up a fight.”
June 1, 2017
“It’s interesting to read a book about a woman that seduces a young man. It’s almost always the other way around even when the author is female. This Cleland man is an interesting character to have written such a book. It’s also interesting to read about a man who loses his virginity. These just aren’t topics brought up very often.”
June 5, 2017
“These girls are giving accounts of losing their virginity and all of them sound ridiculous and not at all normal experiences. They are overly sexualized and so far the first thing I have come across in this novel that sounds like it was written specifically for a erotica novel.” (I don’t necessarily know if I agree with that now either)
“Harriet was raped by a man and because she felt it was her fault that she put herself in this position she forgives him! (rape culture). It’s crazy to think this kind of thinking has been going on this long. I am sure some people who read this novel when it first cam actually listened to and believed this. She put herself in that situation by FAINTING and the man took advantage of that and chose to rape her. I cannot for the life of me imagine a woman reading this and agreeing with it and be happy that Harriet forgave her rapist and claimed to love him.”
“His passions overcame him and clearly she must have been asking for it. BS!”
July 4, 2017
“This book makes my skin crawl because of everyone’s attitudes about sex. He is pleased he hurt her in the act of taking her virginity and that shouldn’t be the case. I really do not like this book to because of the content, I admit I have read worse, but because of the attitude towards women, sex, virginity, and even rape. No one falls in love with their rapist unless they are seriously mentally unstable.”
I didn’t write any notes over the last part of the novel but honestly by that point I was so frustrated and angry I’m not surprised I didn’t keep any notes.