I also found Mildred insufferable and Philip's obsession with her baffling when I read Of Human Bondage. But I have certainly known people in relationships like theirs. And I think that once you put aside Mildred's and Albert's commonness, what you are left with is the obsession, and that is what I think readers glom onto. Most of us, I think, have had at one time or another -- in my own case more than once -- what for want of a better phrase I shall call hopeless crushes. And Maugham is very good at depicting the irrationality and misery that invariably accompany them.