Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Reading Lolita in Mommyland

I'm in a monthly book club with a bunch of moms, and our book selections have been all over the map of literary genres, but our most recent selection, Lolita, chosen in fact by yours truly, has me feeling a bit dirty. It's not inconsequential that the copy I received from a seller on Amazon - a man that I'm sure found it titillating to pass along his "used" copy - is yellowed and stained and earmarked in all the right places.

I sneak peaks at the suggestive prose throughout our day - while waiting for my son's karate class to finish up or while my daughter is napping in the other room - and all the while I feel the urge to conceal the torn cover of that fetid paperback for fear of being discovered skulking in Humbert's sullied mind. I fortify myself with the knowledge that this is "real" literature and that I'm "modeling" being a devoted reader for my children while I forage for redeemable substance Nabokov surely embedded in the perverted thoughts and deluded reasoning of his protagonist.

Unfortunately, I'm well versed on the frighteningly misguided logic of the sexually deviant. Before having children one of my professional positions allowed me unfiltered access to reports of the most unthinkable of acts and transcripts of the warped judgement that allowed them to occur. The experience left me contaminated with an uneasiness that only a monitored home security system and a stack of "good touch/bad touch" books can abate.

And so it is that Lolita slinks around Mommyland, sickening me with her faithful portrayal of debauchery, shocking me with her graphic descriptions of forbidden lust and yet somehow still luring me in with her sensual passages that I read guiltily and dutifully every spare moment in my mommy day.


Ziomal said...

Very nice! I like it. gold gym equipment

Donna said...

You've just convinced me to NEVER again buy a used book at Amazon. :)

femminismo said...

Wonderful! You've described perfectly that pleasantly gritty, slightly shameful way we feel when we read something we think maybe we shouldn't. You've reminded me how I once felt as a 13-year-old entering the world of "Lady Chatterley's Lover" -- doing my best to find out more about "real life."

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This End Up said...

Dear Athensmommy,

I am really interested in what you have to say about motherhood, academia, and blogging.  I am conducting a survey study of academic mothers who blog and I would like to invite you to participate.  The survey is completely anonymous and takes about an hour to complete (and you can do it in more than one session).  A full description of the study can be found when you click on the link below.  Feel free to pass on the link to the survey to other blogging academic mothers you think might be interested.  I hope you will consider participating.  If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at annie.fox@uconn.edu. 

Annie Fox