Jessica Baxter's Reviews > Lolita

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
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Dec 19, 07

Read in November, 2007

so my boyfriend gets this great film magazine called "little white lies" and each movie they review gets three ratings- one for how much they anticipated it, one for how much they enjoyed watching it, and one for how much staying power it had. i wish we did that with these books, because five stars just doesn't cut it.
anyway, i'd heard so many crazily good things about this book, and then i started reading it and was immediately pissed off. i didn't like the style, i was bored, and quite frankly i was left looking around the subway thinking "am i the ONLY one who thinks humbert is just a pedophiliac rapist?" the quotation on the cover of my edition is: "the only convincing love story of our time" (vanity fair). i was so appalled by that-- this is love? abuse, coercion, arrogance, lies, self-pity? i mean, yeah, i hear you out there saying, "uh, duh..." but i just disagree. if this is truly the most convincing love story of our time, then i'm the only person who loves for sweetness, for trust, for laughing and shared moments and respect. and i just couldn't believe that.
but i kept reading. and slowly, around page 250, i started to understand that humbert (and of course nabokov) were one step ahead of me. this is what made me stop in my tracks, what literally took my breath away:
"i loved you. i was a pentapod monster, but i loved you. i was despicable and brutal, and turpid, and everything, mais je t'aimais, je t'aimais! and there were times when i knew how you felt, and it was hell to know it, my little one. lolita girl, brave dolly schiller."
and the next paragraph goes on to describe him naked in bed with her, after just raping her (i will always refuse to call it anything but rape, even after that quotation), and he starts to feel complete shame and despair and he wants to erase what he's done, and before he can say anything to her he gets aroused again and "'oh, no,' lolita would say with a sigh to heaven, and the next moment the tenderness and the azure--all would be shattered."
he gets that he's sick. he gets that its a sickness. and i'm so, so relieved, because for 250 pages i didn't think he did.
so:
anticipation: 4
enjoyment: 2 1/2
staying power: 5
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Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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M is for Mallory oh. my. lord. our communication gets so complicated, now doesn't it? k, i'll bring ashes around when i see you after AC since I refuse to allow you to read at all until we part on sunday night.

love you,
tao


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