Saturday, April 22, 2017

THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY BY OSCAR WILDE - BOOK REVIEW

Hello everyone!

I am back with another review, today it is The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde.



I'm trying to read more classics these days and after reading The Importance of Being Earnest for a course this semester, I figured it was time to pick up this beauty.

I won't really get into the details too much because I think by now, the plot is fairly well known, Dorian gets his portrait done and after seeing the value in youth wishes that he will stay young and the painting will bear his age and wrongdoings. He begins to see the error of his ways by the end, which have driven him half mad.

I thought it was interesting reading this book on my own as opposed to in a class setting as required reading. Being so used to analysing texts such as this, I found it hard to 'turn off' my analytical thought process. Additionally, because I'd studied Wilde's previous work, I am familiar with his personal life, which I think lent itself to some of the commentaries in the book.

The writing was quite well done, I found it was just on the line of the 'old' English that make students loathe classics and more modern writing. I thought it was easy enough to read and I didn't have to worry about picking apart every sentence and trying to understand it on a deep level.

I will say that despite the interesting plotline, the pacing in this book was a little slow for my tastes. Even though it is a 200-page novel, it still took me about the same length of time as a 350+ page book would. I think it's a combination of the language used and the pacing of the story itself. There were a couple speeches and dinner parties I skimmed, and one chapter talking about jewels and embroidery or something that I just skipped altogether.

Of course, knowing some of Wilde's personal life was an asset to reading this book. There were definitely some homosocial elements, especially in the relationship with the three main men. Knowing the background helps see a deeper meaning in this novel, not just the story of a crazy murderer.

I found myself going against a lot of the things that Lord Henry said, I'm not sure if it was just his misogynist views at the time or if I genuinely didn't like his character, but I found myself skipping some of his monologues. He started the whole mess in the first place with his talk about youth and doesn't seem to understand what he is saying. I found I enjoyed the later parts of the book where Dorian decided to stand up and disagree with him. I think this book has a lot of great themes and ideas: sin, morality, reality, etc. And depending on the character, you will get a speech going for or against the ideas. For the most part, these ideas came from Lord Henry and I disagreed with most of his POV, but I could see where he was coming from.

Overall, I didn't hate this classic, so I'm calling that a win!