Laurel's Reviews > The Picture of Dorian Gray

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
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's review
Mar 23, 2009

it was amazing
bookshelves: classics, fiction

Be careful what you wish for.

Dorian Gray is an irresistibly handsome (and utterly selfish) socialite concerned with superficialities of the ego: appearance, beauty, passion, youth and image. Upon getting his portrait painted by a friend, Gray expresses his desire to remain as young and handsome as he is in the picture, while the portrait instead be the one to age.

As it turns out, his wish is realized. As Gray enters deeper into a life of sin and crime, he remains young and physically unaffected, while his portrait grows older and uglier, reflecting the evil nature of his soul.

I found this concept fascinating in and of itself, but also for the questions it raises about what truly defines beauty, how our actions affect not only who we are but the lives of others, the weight of our transgressions on the soul, and how or if we can redeem ourselves.

I do wish Wilde had stayed a bit more focused on the above and less on some of the elitist discussions between characters. The book is at times (in my opinion) a bit over-dramatic and heavy in many somewhat pompous dialogues. However, I guess this is not surprising, as the The Picture of Dorian Gray is Wilde's only novel, and he is of course most known for his plays (which require drama and heavy dialogue).

That aside, this book is still one of my favorites and definitely worth the time. Great ending, and a story not easily forgotten.
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03/23 page 150
03/09 marked as: read
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message 1: by Laurel (last edited Oct 07, 2013 06:02AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Laurel Chandra, I read this about 12 years ago, and I loved it. I was going to put it in my list of all time favorites, until I realized I didn't really remember much of the details at all! :) I only remembered the premise (which I find fascinating), and the ending. I'm enjoying revisiting it, though not sure I'd still put it in my top books. Definitely worth the read, though! I've actually never seen/read any of his plays but would really like to. Funny on the pilgrimage to Chelsea to see his home; I saw Wilde's grave site at a cemetery in France many years ago, and actually think I have a photo of it!! How morbid! ;-)

Laurel They are now officially on my to-read list! :)

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