Book Review- The Picture of Dorian Gray

It has almost been too long since I read this book to review it… about 2 weeks! But it is burned into my mind. *shivers* This cover is pretty, but way too innocent.

I’m just going to give you a little warning here. I get scared VERY easily! I’m a wuss when it comes to scary movies (frankly, I just don’t watch them). I don’t read scary books (for the most part). If I see a bug, I can”t squash it. Ghost stories make me run in the opposite direction screaming like a 2 year old girl. Because of all this, I can’t be sure if this book really is as terrifying as I think it was, or I am just very lame. I tend to this everyone is a little creeped out by this book.

The Picture of Dorian Gray (also known as The Portrait of Dorian Gray) is about a man who sells his soul to the Devil in exchange for eternal beauty and youth. The deal is that he lives forever, but a very special portrait of himself ages and gets more grotesque, the more hideous his soul becomes.

I know a lot of people who would stop here, and give up on this book. I don’t blame you, because I almost did the same thing. I’m glad I didn’t, though, because A) this book turned out to be great B) it is a classic, and you should probably read it, even if you dislike the topic and C) I didn’t realize that Dorian actually didn’t sell his soul on purpose! It seems insignificant, but to me this makes a large difference in the morality of the book. This isn’t a spoiler, because it happens just a few pages into the book. I’m not quoting, but it goes something like this:

Dorian: “That picture is so beautiful, and I look so hot! I wish I would stay that handsome forever, and the picture would grow old and ugly, instead of me.”

That’s it. It was entirely an accident. The morality issues come later on in the book, because when he realizes that his wish came true, he goes a little crazy and does very bad things. Another thing to keep in mind while reading is that the bad things he does are awful and disgraceful for his time, but not necessarily ours.

I really enjoyed this book. It gave me the heeby-jeebies all of the way through, especially at the end, but it was in a good way! I can see why this book is a classic. The language is great, and it is remarkably fast paced for a classic.

Another little comment about the morality issues surrounding this book. I think it is a misconception that this book condones killing, savagery, and evil. To me, this was wrong. This book is showing the reader about the dangers of evil, the dangers of defiling your soul. It does it in a very… shady way. But this isn’t an evil book in itself. And keep in mind that it is fiction. This never happened, no matter how real it seemed.

It is one of my favorites, to be sure. I see myself reading it many more times in the future! I can’t wait to watch the movie… in broad daylight. 😉

Happy Saturday everyone!

Olivia

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4 Comments

Filed under Classic, Fiction

4 responses to “Book Review- The Picture of Dorian Gray

  1. This book is so good! And I really like how you interpreted it, saying that it shows the dangers of evil rather than promoting evil itself.
    You should read The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde if you want a change from horror to comedy 🙂 It’s a really silly, witty play, and I highly suggest it

    • Thank you! I decided to give the book the benefit of the doubt, because I feel like so many write it off as ‘bad’. I’ve been wanting to read that! I’ll definitely check it out from my library’s classic’s section on Tuesday. (it’s my first day of volunteering there. SQUEAL!) Thanks for the awesome rec.!

      • Really? People write it off as bad? I can’t imagine who would say it’s bad. Slightly scary? Yes. But not bad at all.

      • Because of the immorality? Maybe I just mean… it has been written off in the past especially when it was first published. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t popular for many years because it was condemned. I suppose I assumed that people now would feel the same. I wouldn’t be surprised if our grandparents refused to read this book, you know?

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