“The Picture of Dorian Gray” Book Review

9780375751516I finished reading this book last week. It took me some time to get my thoughts together on what I felt about this book. The story is about a young very attractive man, named Dorian Gray, who sits for his portrait to be painted by Basil. After being influenced by the philosophies of the painter’s friend, Lord Henry, Dorian begins to be troubled by the reality that his beauty will one day wither away. He becomes jealous of the painting and unknowingly casts a spell on himself and the painting by wishing that the painting will grow old while he remains young and beautiful.

Dorian seemed to be an empty vessel not having ideas or beliefs of his own. It was easy for Lord Henry’s unorthodox philosophies to negatively influence Dorian shaping his ideas, opinions and character. After Dorian hurt someone very dear to him, he later notices that the painting has altered in its appearance. With every evil act and as time passed the painting altered to display his true demons and aging while he stayed young and attractive.

This book was written in the 19 century, so the writing was wordy and a bit challenging at times. I found myself stopping to look up words to get an understanding of what was being said.  The middle portion of the book was the hardest to get through. Around chapter 11 I almost stopped reading due to boredom. Oscar Wilde unnecessarily elaborated on insignificant aspects of Dorian’s life while leaving out vital parts of his life that would have painted a better picture of how far he slid down the rabbit hole of evil.

Overall, Lord Henry proved to be the most interesting character in this book with his many interesting epigrams on life. Dorian was annoying with how easily he was manipulated. One thing I found very interesting was how Dorian attempted to confess, towards the end, some of the evil things he was doing. Those closest to him refused to believe him because they couldn’t pass over his good looks to see his true character. This theme in the book made me think of how superficial society is today and how a pretty appearance easily garners praise without deep examination of the character.  I gave this book 3 stars out of 5 because I found it to be wordy and very boring. In my opinion, it took Oscar Wilde too long to get to the point and the ending was blatantly obvious.

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3 thoughts on ““The Picture of Dorian Gray” Book Review

  1. Yes, I think the more we get information overload with sound, pictures, video, and even quick access(like tweets) elaborating on mundane details will start to wear on us. We have had our imaginations opened so much and so many movies have either already played on the themes that some of the authors were just inventing(plus half of these classics have been made into movies) that for their time period what must have been a MUST to thoroughly explain to us is just like, oh okay it’s one of THOSE stories.

    I wonder how future generations will feel about us, with our still text(though we can use float overs), our short 2D non holographic(for now) videos, and our decently edited videos(which to them will probably look like hacks). I may check this book out, and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde I think I have them both on Kindle. Thanks for the review, now I’m curious about Lord Henry never even heard about him before

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  2. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde could be considered the ORIGINAL Incredible Hulk. It’s the story about a scientist, was he mad possibly, who created a formula to bring out his “true essence” which worked to an extent. I know the horror movies always have Mr. Hyde being a fanged hairy monster of sorts but I think like a lot of movies it was an oversimplification.

    It might be wordy but hopefully it’s a fun but chilling cautionary tale. Like I said I’ve never read it, I just always see how they portray the jekyll/hyde dichotomy in other media

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