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The Picture of Dorian Gray | Oscar Wilde | Review

Wednesday, 7 February 2018
book The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
This year I planned to read more classic books. I try every year but never get around to it, even though I own quite a few classics as usually they have pretty covers like this one. I had heard good things about The Picture of Dorian Gray so I decided as it was apparently good and was only a short 200 pages I'd start with this one.

Let’s just say I have incredibly mixed feelings about this book.

Dorian Gray is the subject of a full-length portrait in oil by Basil Hallward, an artist who is impressed and infatuated by Dorian's beauty; he believes that Dorian's beauty is responsible for the new mode in his art as a painter. Understanding that his beauty will fade, Dorian expresses the desire to sell his soul, to ensure that the picture, rather than he, will age and fade. The wish is granted, and Dorian pursues a libertine life of varied and amoral experiences, while staying young and beautiful; all the while his portrait ages and records every sin.

As soon as this book started I was enthralled. The words just flowed and I easily flew through page after page, which with other classics I've read before isn't really something I'm used to. It may have been the language, or it may have been the fact I fell in love with Lord Henry’s character. I don’t know what it is about him, especially as if any man acted like he does today I would roll my eyes and ignore him. But damn is he charming. That is probably it, while charming all the ladies and duchess’ in the book he also charms your heart.

But Lord Henry aside I really enjoyed the start of the book, the introductory chapters where the painting is produced to the following chapters surrounding Dorian’s fancy as life. I swear being an aristocrat in times like these must be rather enjoyable, I suppose if you enjoy socialising. I’m not sure my introverted self would be able to manage lunches, suppers, theatre trips, all after each other every day. But boy was it entertaining reading about it.

That is until chapter 11. This 18 page chapter ruined the flow for me, I just struggled so hard to get through this chapter that while I enjoyed the rest of the book it felt more like a chore to finish than a joyful activity. I couldn’t even enjoy Lord Henry’s charm as much as I did in the first half of the book. Without spoiling the storyline too much the entire chapter is depicting his aging (around 15-20 years) by going through all the collection phases Dorian goes through. Jewels, tapestries, perfumes, and music. It felt like it took me years to get through, if that was Oscar Wilde’s intentions I’m not sure.

I will say it’s probably because I was sick with the flu at the time and I kept putting it down losing concentration. If you’re going to read this book just read it, whatever you do don’t put it down during that chapter or all is lost.  Before or after is totally fine, as like I mentioned above the before and after are fine to read. The last half definitely has a few plot twists that I wasn’t even expecting until the sentence before (that’s how you know it’s a good plot twist!).

I still gave this four stars, and I’ll probably try reading it again some time when my head isn’t feeling fluffy from the flu.
1 comment on "The Picture of Dorian Gray | Oscar Wilde | Review"
  1. I always try to read more classics and never get round to it because I know most of them are really hard going so I might give this one a try. Great review, thankyou!!

    Jess xx