My guy reads Outlander: conversations (part 2 of 2)
SPOILERS * SPOILERS* SPOILERS* SPOILERS
It’s impossible to write this post without spoilers. If you haven’t yet read Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, and don’t want to find out what happens in it, please do not read this post!
Instead, go here to listen to an audiobook sample (click link below the book cover image.) Or here to read an excerpt. Then, buy the audiobook/book or get yourself to the library and borrow it! :-)
Him: Spanking? Really?
Me: What? Do you think it was a sex thing?
Him: (giving me a look like I’m clueless) Yeah.
He (Jamie) definitely dug it.
Me: I don’t remember Claire feeling the same way. She seemed pretty pissed.
It seems like they fight sometimes just so they can make up.
About the love/sex scenes throughout the book:
Me: Do you think there were too many (love scenes) for you?
Him: Well, you know, it’s sort of like this:
There are certain kinds of movies—you see the pizza delivery guy knock on the door. The lady answers it. Or the one where the cheerleaders are in the locker room . . . you know what’s going to happen. It’s a set up for a certain kind of scene. Here, it’s the same way. Not that it’s pron, but that you know what you’re going to get: the clans men go off . . . leave them (Jamie and Claire) alone, they go off in the heather . . . they have sex. The situation is sort of a set-up for an opportunity for it.
I’m cool with it (the sex scenes), though. You read “guy” books sometimes and they have lots of fighting or other stuff. This is more of a woman’s book. It’s cool . . .
It does feel like they are checking off a list, though: sex outdoors, sex at night/sleep late/sex all day, make-up sex.
Me: What are you liking about the book?
Him: It’s cool that everyone has so much backstory. There’s such a story telling culture in the book, and that’s how you get people’s history. A patient will come in to see Claire, or they’ll tell stories during dinner—everyone has some story to tell. And that’s when you find things out: about Jamie, Colum . . .
The next day: he’s at the point in the story where she’s decided to stay with Jamie after he takes her to the stones.
Him: He seems like he’s going to have a hard time knowing she’s already married. You know, he’s a man of his time. I thought she was the one with the ethical dilemma, being married and all, but I think he’s gotta have a problem with the fact that she’s married to another man.
Done! He’s finished listening to the book.
Wrap-up questions and answers:
Me: So did you like it?
Him: Yeah, it was good.
Me: What did you think of the rape scene?
Him: Which one?
Him: Randall or when Claire re-enacted it?
Me: Wow. I guess I meant Randall. (I hadn’t really thought of it in those terms.)
Him: Well, it was complicated.
You know, she (the author) made it really complex. It wasn’t just Randall “getting his rocks off” or only an act of violence. He was twisted, and yet he had these feelings for Jamie, and wanted Jamie to tell him he loved and wanted him. He also wanted to humiliate him.
But Jamie also was able to make some choices. While he did wind up submitting, Randall couldn’t make Jamie tell him he wanted him. He was able to withhold that part of himself from Randall.
Me: What about Claire’s “therapy”?
Him: That was the craziest scene! With both of them getting affected by the opium!
Me: You know, I had forgotten she used the opium.
Him: How could you forget that! That was such a big scene!
Me: Well, I remembered once you said something, but, after 6 books, which would be about 6000 pages…
Him: It’s crazy how, both of them are characters who are from before the age of psycho-analysis, Freud, the unconscious were common ideas. She’s his healer, and she wants to help him, but neither of them have tools that we take for granted.
So while it’s sort of out there, what she does, it’s consistent with the times both of them are from: him from the 18th century, and her from the 1940′s .
Me: I remember being worried she was going to damage him (psychologically) worse.
Him: I was afraid he was going to hurt her. It was such a big risk for her to act like Randall. But it worked, and it felt right for their characters to do that.
Me: What do you think is going to happen?
Him: Well, man, she sure leaves things on a cliff hanger. She leaves the “I’m pregnant” thing till the very last minute. I felt like, “Wha…”
Me: Did it feel manipulative?
Him: No, not manipulative. I was willing to give the author the benefit of the doubt. Not everything had to be spelled out. You know, Jamie was getting better, they were at the monastery for a while, time passes. Then she’s pregnant.
Me: You know, it’s a common romance genre convention to have an epilogue at the very end of the book where they get married, have a baby…You know, live “happily ever after.”
Him: Well, since they got married toward the beginning of the book, I guess they couldn’t do that.
In some ways, there were only a couple of ways the book could be resolved in terms of their relationship. Either Frank, in the future, dies. Or, Jamie dies, or Claire returns to Frank. I guess having a baby also resolves things in some way. It cements her relationship to Jamie.
Me: Would you listen to the next book in the series? I can load it onto your iTunes (trying not to sound too eager.)
Him: Yeah, though not right away. I’ve got two other books to listen to and catch up on my podcasts (mostly tech and sports), then maybe I’ll do the next one.
Me: Would you recommend it to a friend? Would it make a difference if the friend was a man or a woman?
Him: I’ve mentioned it at work. Some of the women gave me a hard time about it, ’cause I rolled my eyes when I said it was a romance. But then, they admitted they roll their eyes when I talk about sports so much.
Yeah, I’d recommend it. But, I feel like I’d need to say something about some of the content.
Me: You mean you’d be uncomfortable about the amount of sex in it?
Him: Not just that. Also, the Randall thing and the way Claire deals with it. I guess it’s an adult book, and we’re all adults, but I’d be a little aware of that. —I must clarify, too, that he’s the Director where he works, and thus “the boss” to most of the staff around him, so he’s sort of hyper-vigilant about “appropriate” office behavior.
Phew! I know I missed lots from our conversations. He knew I was posting about this, but I didn’t want him to feel too awkward during our conversations, so I’d jot notes down after our conversations, and recreate them to the best of my ability.
I want to say again, he was so awesome for doing this. We had a good time talking about it, and there were a few times where we just cracked each other up.