Originally I wasn't going to review this (if you're observant then you've probably noticed that I read this back in early April), but I recently decid...moreOriginally I wasn't going to review this (if you're observant then you've probably noticed that I read this back in early April), but I recently decided to watch the latest movie adaptation despite the fact that the book was rather meh for me. What can I say, Ben Barnes naked the movie inspired me.
At the start of the novel Dorian Gray is young and just as gullible as you can imagine. But he's got his whole life ahead of him and the good looks and charm to insure him at least some messure of happiness. But soon, thanks to Lord Henry Wotton, a portrait, and a wish that should never have been made, his life is turned upside down. All of a sudden his life — and his soul — are in a downwards spiral.
I think that, for me, this book's downfall was Lord Henry Wotton. He's so philosophical and opinionated and corrupting that I found him downright dreadful. Lord Henry is kind of like life personified. Just as life can take us from an innocent baby and turn us into something vile and sinful, Lord Henry has much the same affect on Dorian Gray. Even though it is Basil's portrait that initiates everything, it is Lord Henry that sets the terrible events into motion with his corruption and his horribly depressing and pessimistic theories. While many may see Dorian Gray as the villain in this, I see Lord Henry as such.
But if Dorian would've just grown a spine and made his own decisions, not listened to Lord Henry . . . things wouldn't have ended up so terrible for him. That's one of the few things I hate about historical novels. It seems that there are two types of people: role models and protégés. Why? Why couldn't everyone have done their own thing? It's like in Emma when Emma steers Harriet in the entirely wrong direction. If Harriet would've just been her own person, made her own choices, things wouldn't have gotten so out of sorts for her.
I must say that if I hadn't listened to the audio I probably wouldn't have been able to finish this. But the ending Wilde writes is this book's saving grace IMO. It is stunning and unexpected and gave it just enough for me to make this three stars.
All in all this book isn't bad — it is written well, naturally — but if you're interested I'd have to suggest skipping the book and watching the most recent film adaptation. Although I must warn you: it is vastly different from the book — especially when it comes to Dorian's lecherous adventures, and it is rated R for a reason. Delicate people shouldn't hasten to watch it.(less)