“To define is to limit.”
Although I’ve read this book a while ago, I wanted to write up a review- this month is apparently the month of different book genres; I’ve had a self-help book and a middle-school lit to break the YA pattern; and now, classics! Without further ado, let’s get started.
Written in his distinctively dazzling manner, Oscar Wilde’s story of a fashionable young man who sells his soul for eternal youth and beauty is the author’s most popular work. The tale of Dorian Gray’s moral disintegration caused a scandal when it ﬁrst appeared in 1890, but though Wilde was attacked for the novel’s corrupting inﬂuence, he responded that there is, in fact, “a terrible moral in Dorian Gray.” Just a few years later, the book and the aesthetic/moral dilemma it presented became issues in the trials occasioned by Wilde’s homosexual liaisons, which resulted in his imprisonment. Of Dorian Gray’s relationship to autobiography, Wilde noted in a letter, “Basil Hallward is what I think I am: Lord Henry what the world thinks me: Dorian what I would like to be—in other ages, perhaps.”
I read a translation, so I can’t really comment on Oscar Wilde’s writing style. However, I can say it was very descriptive and wholesome. He himself described the novel as perfect. While there is an intentional sentiment of foreshadowing that may allow one with a keener eye to peek at the end, that only helps to “set the mood”, so to speak.
Some I liked, others I didn’t. I found Dorian Gray to be weirdly similar to Death Note’s Light Yagami, though I’m not sure why. It could have been the fact that they both had exceptional futures right within an arm’s reach and they threw them away at the mere sight of temptation (in Dorian’s case, eternal beauty and in Light’s, the actual Death Note). About the other characters, I’ll have to say I disliked Sybil Vane and Lord Henry Wotton, but I’ve found it easy to sympathize with Basil and James Vane.
I’ve loved a large part of the plot, although I do feel like the book occasionally dragged. The ending didn’t amaze me, as I think we were all expecting it. Of course, going with a different ending would have probably been worse, so I was quite pleased with it.
General & Ratings
While I can’t say the book swept me off my feet, I can say it was a decent read. I gave it three stars on GoodReads and, true to my word, I’ll give it an Acceptable here, too. Oh, quick note: I haven’t yet watched the movie, but I am definitely planning to do so! I’m really curious to see how Ben Barnes plays Dorian.
Have you read the book or watched the movie? Both? If so, which is better? Is the movie worth watching? What did you think of the book? Let me know in the comments below! Also, if you enjoyed, make sure to drop a like and subscribe to the newsletter!
Thanks for reading!