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My Fair Laddie

My Fair Laddie - Ryan Field So far, I haven't read or seen the books and films Ryan based his stories on, however in this instance I have. In fact, I grew up on "My Fair Lady" and can sing all the words of all the songs. Funnily enough, just two days ago I caught some of the Audrey Hepburn/Rex Harrison version on TV. At the time, I was struck by the fact that Rex and Wilfred Hyde Whyte look like two middle-aged gay guys doing their own make-over and at the end Eliza would end up as their housekeeper.I had always been aware that the original story of "Pygmalion" was a lot darker. "My Fair Laddie" owes more to that than the Broadway musical/come film. The concept that you can take someone from one "class" and convert them to another "class" just by changing their clothes and the way they speak and act is seen as being callous.To make this work, the Professor character has to be self-centred, narcissitic, and all the things that Harlan Henderson is in the book. If he was anything else, he would never have the nerve to do what he does.The book has possibly added impact because of the plethora of "make over" programs on television today. Little or no follow up is ever done to see how the person "fits" back into their old lives afterwards. How do their old friends and relatives and loved ones react to the new version.In this respect, the author captures the conflict at the heart of the story, without belabouring it. At times, to get his point across he slips into omniscient view, but basically it is all told through Harlan Henderson's eyes. A case of a blinkered narrator who only sees what he wants to see.The question is: How tough is Wilbur? Not having been in his head at any stage, we never get to see any good sides of Harlan, so his devotion to him is probably as incomprehensible to some readers as it is to Harlan himself. People (and even animals) who have been neglected and then get 24/7 intensive care will no doubt forgive many faults because of that level of dedication. They don't need wooing or romance, they have fallen for intensity and strength of purpose. It's almost a Stockholm Syndrome. In the end, they probably are the best match for each other.It all made sense to me, anyway.