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Bethan Roberts Ñ 7 Summary

Another eually overpowering claim on his affections Patrick a curator at the Brighton Museum is also besotted with his policeman and opens Tom's eyes to a world previously unknown to him But in an age when those of 'minority status' were condemned by society and the law it is safer for this policeman to marry his teacher The two lovers must share him until one of them breaks and three lives are destroyed Unfolding through the dua. I think it was George Bernard Shaw who coined the maxim He who can does He who cannot teaches While there may sometimes be some truth in those words they most certainly do not apply to the writer of this very good novel Bethan Roberts Roberts has apparently taught Creative Writing at Chichester University and at Goldsmiths College both of which are in the UK On the evidence of this her most recent book she is an exceptionally talented writer My Policeman is a beautifully told and moving account of thwarted passionThe essence of the story is a somewhat unusual menage a trois The setting is Brighton the time is the late 1950s Marion is an intelligent but rather naive young schoolteacher She falls in love with Tom who is the brother of her best friend Tom is an inexperienced police officer He meets and becomes infatuated with Patrick who is the curator of Western Art at the town s art gallery Despite his feelings for Patrick Tom marries Marion At a time before gay sex had been decriminalised he is keen to fit in and to live outwardly at least a life of respectability and what he thinks of as normality In a seuence of narratives that shifts in time from the late 1950s to the late 1990s My Policeman recounts from Marion s and from Patrick s perspective their shared love for Tom and the impact that it has on all their lives It is a poignant painful and ultimately tragic story The writing and characterisation are excellent Roberts paints what appears to be a very authentic picture of the social and sexual ethos of the time and of the way in which gay people were forced to contend with being labelled as sexual inverts and ueers terms used in the story and with the risk of exposure for behaving in what was then a criminal manner Her style of writing is crisp and flowing And she depicts what are sometimes very intense and emotional events in a humane and sympathetic way My Policeman is a tender heartbreaking and thought provoking story that will stay with the reader for a very long time after he or she has finished it It is a very good novel indeed marred only by the slightly overdone conclusion 910

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My Policeman

L narratives of Marion and Patrick both writing about the man at the centre of their lives this beautifully told painful tragic story is revealed It is a tale of wasted years misguided love and thwarted hope of how at a time when the country was on the verge of change so much was still impossible Bethan Roberts has produced an intense and exuisitely raw yet tender novel which proves her to be one of our most exciting young writers.. A really good story which moves back and forth between 1999 and 195758 Schoolgirl Marion has a crush on her friend s brother Tom in 1950 s Brighton Having left school she finds herself spending time with him and determines to marry him Unknown to her at the time Tom is having an affair with an older man Patrick In 1999 Patrick has had a stroke and has been taken into the home that Marion and Tom live in Marion is caring for him but also writing her confession about what happened subseuently to after she met Patrick back in 1957 In between Marion s sections of narrative are excerpts from Patrick s diaryThere are two aspects of this book that made me really enjoy it Firstly I think that novels with a dare I say it historical perspective on gay lives are such an important part of what still needs to be written lives that were hidden and describing why they were hidden could easily be left unsaid in an era of Pulitzer Prize winning gay comic novels Also there is the aspect of the wives who were married to gay men and husbands of gay women who would have gone through their entire lives in a relationship that did not work Marion s choices in the book are completely understandable but everything she does is based on the problems created by people not talking about their sexuality and the fact that being gay was still very much illegal at the beginning of the book Parts of the story reminded me of Ian McEwan s On Chesil Beach same period and similar issues of naivety in young adults Having lived in Brighton for a while a lot of the setting was very familiar to me although generally I am not a fan of a lot of local detailThe writing itself is absorbing and the switch between narratives gives an added tension especially given that after the stroke Patrick has lost the ability to speak adding to the separation of the two main characters who are now spending so much time together Considering where the story was heading there is also a good ending It should have been a uicker read but work kept getting in the way this week

Review ✓ eBook, PDF or Kindle ePUB Ñ Bethan Roberts

An exuisitely told tragic tale of thwarted love From the moment Marion first lays eyes on Tom her best friend's big brother broad blond blue eyed she is smitten And when he comes home from National Service to be a policeman Marion a newly ualified teacher is determined to win him Unable to acknowledge the signs that something is amiss she plunges into marriage sure that her love is enough for both of them But Tom has another life. I was both fascinated and immensely annoyed by this book The blurb describes it as a tragic love story of a man and a woman both in love with the same man in a time the 1950s when it is safer for him to marry the woman and maintain a front of respectability As a longtime reader of LGBT fiction it sounded like exactly the sort of book I would loveI didn t In the spirit of fairness I should list its good points 1950s Brighton is beautifully vivid and the prevailing attitudes of the time are well captured Patrick and his mother are wonderful characters Julia a relatively minor character yet an important one is great and the relationship between Tom and Patrick feels era appropriately dangerousHowever Marion the main protagonist is an out and out bitch I don t use that word lightly but honestly I don t think I ve hated a female character this much since Mary Anne in the Tales of the City series I think we re supposed to empathise with her plight she s young and unworldly living in a time when homosexuality just wasn t talked about so when she announces that she s in love with Tom and is warned by his sister no less that he s not like that she s naively or willfully unaware of what that meansI wanted to punch her then and I didn t shift much on that opinion throughout the rest of the book If anything my loathing deepened as it became clear exactly what she d done to dispose of her opposition She loses a good fried Julia in her refusal to accept her husband s perversions loses her husband his career and destroys Patrick s life And all so she can win Tom a plot which thankfully backfires spectacularly leading to a loveless sexless forty year marriage What is never made clear is why Tom would choose to stay with this awful human being in later years when divorce and homosexuality both became socially acceptable Another big failing from my perspective is that Marion s point of view is so dominant there isn t room for Tom to speak for himselfThe ending is heartbreaking Marion finally does the right thing and tells Tom and the ailing Patrick what she did and true to form disappears to leave them to deal with it I was so angry with her by this point that I didn t even care that the ending was a bit cliched and unnecessarily dramaticIn short this isn t a gay romance nor an exploration of the difficulties of maintaining a public face and an illegal private love It s a straight woman s vision of those things written for other straight women and as I don t fall into that category I found it incredibly insulting and annoying In the hands of a different writer I believe it could have been far sensitively handled and Marion could have even become less loathsome As it is for all its good points it remains horrible


10 thoughts on “My Policeman

  1. says:

    Omg why I did read this? No seriously why? I guess I wanted to read something ueer that wasn’t explicitly mm except I forgot that when straight people I think this author is straight—sorry for assumingjudging regardless write litfic about teh gays THEY LIKE TO MAKE US AS MISERABLE AS POSSIBLE And while I have some patience for marginalised people writing tragedy for themselves for the sake of having a voice and finding cath

  2. says:

    I was both fascinated and immensely annoyed by this book The blurb describes it as a tragic love story of a man and a woman both in lo

  3. says:

    This is well written and certainly captures the feeling of living in a time and place when homosexuality was illegal and when anyone who didn't avoid any connection with it was liable to pay a heavy price As a story it'sfine It's a perfectly g

  4. says:

    Since Marion was a girl she has been besotted by her friend Sylvie's older brother Tom She dreams of their being together and tries to scheme her way into seeing him any which way she can As they grow older Tom goes into the military and then

  5. says:

    beautifully written and incredibly sad set in the 1950s when homosexuality was still illegal in great britain a woman and man recount their lives being in love with the same man i found myself wonderinggrowing increasingly frustrated with certain elements of the story such as view spoilerWHY did marion and tom stay together for fourty years? i can understand the reasons at the time but what kind of existence is that? it just fel

  6. says:

    I think it was George Bernard Shaw who coined the maxim He who can does He who cannot teaches While there may sometimes be some truth in thos

  7. says:

    A really good story which moves back and forth between 1999 and 195758 Schoolgirl Marion has a crush on her friend's brother Tom in

  8. says:

    One of those books like The Poisonwood Bible which inhabits your field of vision while you're reading it Walking around Brighton this past week I half expected to see the characters slip out of the museum or stroll arms swinging through the arch at ueen's Park Roberts crafts a story from the desires and fears of the three main characters as they try to negotiate the social strata of the south coast in the 1950s Starting and fiinishing in p

  9. says:

    Sad sad sad Such a beautifully written book one that really got inside the hearts and minds of the 3 main characters Fabulously set in late 1950s and present day Brighton this book was totally compelling and very telling

  10. says:

    I can't even begin to describe how distressing reading this book was semi spoilerThere were no happy bits and from the get go I knew how much of a btch Marion was going to be I felt for her in the beginning and her feelings were valid but not valid enough to destroy someone's life like that for a person that didn't even want her as bad as she did them There was something about her character that was so discour

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