11 March, 2015

Book Review: Lolita

From Goodreads: Humbert Humbert is a middle-aged, fastidious college professor. He also likes little girls. And none more so than Lolita, whom he'll do anything to possess. Is he in love or insane? A silver-tongued poet or a pervert? A tortured soul or a monster? ...Or is he all of these?

Thoughts: I wanted to read this after I read Tampa late last year. Given they are both deal with paedophilia, I suppose the comparisons were inevitable. For me however, they are both very different books. In Tampa Celeste is very deliberate and up front about her seduction of the boys. She sets out to trap them and use them for her own satisfaction.In Lolita, Humbert Humbert places the blame with Lolita. As far as he is concerned,what he is doing is not his fault -she seduced him and really society should take that into account.
The subject of both books is abhorrent - and notice I call the subject abhorrent, not the book themselves. As uncomfortable and distasteful the subject matter is, I feel books like this are important. Both give a window into the minds of the abusers, both cause us to question, debate, think about a subject we would rather wish didn't exist at all. Not surprisingly, it features frequently in lists of banned books world wide.
Reading Lolita is uncomfortable. HH's romanisation of his relationship with Dolores, (who he calls Lolita) should not sit well with any reasonable person. His increasingly desperate attempts to keep her away from others and to protect their "relationship" is testament to his depravity.
I'm glad I read it. I don't feel you have the right to comment on a book if you have never taken the time to read it. I didn't find it easy to read, and not just because of the subject matter. I didn't enjoy Nabokov's writing at all. While many reviews rave about the writing, his word play and flow, I just didn't get it. I found he took 20 words to describe something he could have described in 10. At times I found it hard to follow, difficult to know who was talking and exactly what was going on. Glad a read it, unlikely to ever read again. Would I recommend it? Absolutely, if for no other reason to than to say you have and be able to offer a true, considered opinion.

Lolita gets 2 stars from me.

        Did not like it
**       It was OK
***      Liked it
****    Really liked it
*****   It was amazing

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