This is one of my absolute favorite books. Personally, it means a lot to me. I related to Stephen.
This lets Joyce do pretty much whatever he wanted for the rest of his career. Dubliners was his proving ground, establishing himself, and Portrait blows the doors open and takes it to an entirely new level.
Just experimental enough not to alienate the reader wholesale...and the triumphant experiments to come are only just getting started.
Everyone should read this before they turn, maybe, 25.
He nailed so much of youth that he would have easily gone down forever as a great writer were to have been hit by a bus or something. \
Gave modernism feeling and raw universal emotion and experience to modernity.
A bridgework of a book. A stepping stone for him personally and in the entire history of novels. And it can very easily to the same for you.
"Stephen Hero" is the discarded stuff he had originally put in when he wanted to make it more realistic. Check that out for even more pleasure.