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To picture my mother a lover, I had at first to break her in my mind's eye, hold her over my knee, like a stick, bust her in two. When that was done, when I had changed her like that, I could see her in a different way. I could put her through the motions like a jointed puppet, all dancy in the limbs, loose, nothing to hold her up but me.While his mother (whom he refers to variously as Mrs. Shaw, Beth, and her e-mail sobriquet, Liza38), dallies with her pen pal, whom she calls "the companion of my body, the guest of my heart," Henry experiences his own sexual awakening; his 13-year-old sister, Elvira, retreats into gender-bending historical fantasy; and their father remains determinedly absorbed in pedagogical responsibilities.
Ironically (and not completely convincingly) narrated by an adult Henry, Disobedience has a rollicking tone somewhat at odds with the somber prospects that loom for this family. A very worldly teenager in some ways, despite the hippie wholesomeness of his family, Henry tells his tale in abundant, almost flowery prose, imagining his mother's private life with elegiac fervor. As in her earlier A Map of the World, Jane Hamilton writes with affection and insight about the darker side of apparently ordinary Midwestern folks. --Victoria Jenkins --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
It took me a while to finish this book. Every time Hamilton started to get to the actual story, she'd stop and explain through Henry how every character felt about every little... Read morePublished on July 7 2004 by Caradae Linore
I enjoyed this book tremendously. I liked hearing the story from the son's point of view. I loved the character development. Everyone had a clear story and objective. Read morePublished on July 7 2004 by Bethanie Frank
Well maybe not. I think if you are reading this, you understand the premise; a boy finds out about his mother's affair. Read morePublished on June 14 2004 by Ajit G. de Silva
I love the way Jane Hamilton uses words. Her sentences soar yet the language is down to earth.
Henry's description of his mother's infidelity tells the story of all families... Read more
The title says it all. Each member of the family disobeyed and broke trust with the other family members. Read morePublished on Oct. 12 2002
"Disobedience" is written as a first-person narrative ten years after the events of the story take place. A 17 year old "boy" (hmmm - there's that fine line between boy and man. . Read morePublished on Aug. 6 2002 by Helen S. Andrews
Jane Hamilton takes us within another Midwestern family through the eyes of Henry, the older son. It is written as a memory of his senior year in high school from the perspective... Read morePublished on June 22 2002
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. Read morePublished on June 21 2002 by Virginia Lore