From Aqaba to Montana – People and Love

What am I reading?

When I last asked this question it was 3rd December 2016. Back then, my two books on-the-go were A Most Wanted Man (John Le Carré) and T. E. Lawrence’s Letters. I finished Le Carré’s novel not long after but I’m afraid to say that through December and January I did little with the Letters. Things came to a head at the start of this week, however, and I picked up the Letters again and every day this week have managed to read it and my other book-on-the-go for half an hour each day. The internet and social media hasn’t cracked my ability to concentrate just yet, which is a great relief. As for A Most Wanted Man, as I said in my previous post, I didn’t enjoy the book to begin with but by the end it was definitely my favourite of the three Le Carré novels I read (the other two being Our Kind of Traitor and A Delicate Truth).

T. E. Lawrence’s Letters
(Ed. David Garnett)
It is now September 1917 and the Arab Revolt is well underway. Lawrence is still finding time to write the very occasional letter home but most of them now are to Cairo. What sticks in my mind about this week’s reading is the brevity with which Lawrence describes the Battle of Aqaba. ‘… we marched into Akaba on the morning of July 6’. Well, there was a battle,  you know; you took part in it before accidentally shooting your camel and knocking yourself out when you fell off it. This quotation, however, comes from Lawrence’s account of events leading up to and after the occupation of the vital port for The Arab Bulletin so I suppose he had to be brief. That aside, it continues to be a treat to see his letters to D. G. Hogarth and even documents that were once classified ‘secret’ included.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post
(Emily M. Danforth)
(Chapt. 8)
Despite slowing my reading of T. E. Lawrence’s Letters to a halt during December and January I didn’t stop reading altogether. A little Tolkien passed my way (The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun) as did Xenophon’s Anabasis. They weren’t part of the Books-on-the-go scheme, which is a shame because I enjoyed them both. A week or two ago, I began Cameron Post. She would not have been part of it either had I not picked up TEL again. Anyway, I did, so here we are.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post is a 2012 novel about a girl, Cameron Post, who is a lesbian. It starts with Cameron and her best friend, Irene, kissing each other. Cameron likes it but life moves on. A year or three (I’m not actually sure about the timeline) Cameron makes out with Lindsey, her chief rival in swimming competitions. Next will be Coley, the ‘It girl’ of her school. And it is there that things will go downhill for Cameron. She lives in the religiously and socially conservative American state of Montana. As I haven’t got to that part yet I can’t say for sure what will happen, but I believe Cameron and Coley are caught and Cameron is sent to a religious camp to have her homosexual urgings cured.

I know the theological arguments against homosexuality but for me they stand opposed to the fact that the love that same sex couples have for one another is every bit as consensual and in its own way fruitful as that which heterosexual couples enjoy. So they can’t have children, well neither can a husband and wife after a certain age. I hope that one day same sex relationships will come to be seen as God willed. In the meantime, it is very hard – embarrassing and cutting – to see how the faith, particularly my own Church, that of Rome, regards homo-/bi-sexuality, etc.

So far as Cameron Post is concerned, she attends what looks like an evangelical church. I suppose as a Catholic this means I can divorce myself from their actions towards her but that’s nonsense and in any case as a Christian I certainly can’t. So, I am rather dreading where this book will go and how it will end. There’s no backing out, though. I am in this book too much to do that.

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