Books

Book Review: The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

I’m back with another book review! I’ve probably mentioned it enough on this blog, but this year my reading goal was to read 50 books (I’ll potentially read more but, with the slight hangover I had on January 1st, I thought 50 was a good starting point). So far, I haven’t made a sizeable dent but what I have done is read a few classics:  Little Women Emma  and Pride and Prejudice.

Finishing uni made me realise how much I missed reading classic books. So many people hated reading them when we were studying but I couldn’t think of anything better than curling up and reading books like Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre and getting lost in different worlds, different ways of writing and different views than we have today. With this in mind, I created a list of classic books I’m hoping to get through by the time 2020 ends.

The latest book on my list was Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray. Wilde wasn’t a writer we widely studied during my degree, though he was briefly mentioned in a few modules and by a few lecturers, so I wanted to add him to the list to see what all the fuss was about.

The novel follows Dorian Grey, the subject of an excellent portrait by an artist. This becomes a story of youth, beauty and class.

This book was hit and miss for me. The Picture of Dorian Gray was dark, Gothic and supernatural. Given the fact that I loved the modules at uni that focused on Gothic, Victorian literature, I liked the way this book played with the genre. I also really enjoyed the way that there was the occasional humorous parts to counteract the often serious, philosophical tone of the novel.

Character wise, I wasn’t wowed. At first, I liked Basil, Lord Henry and Dorian. Then, as I went on further and further, I just found them annoying. I just felt as though I was reading a book full of mini Oscar Wilde’s, rather than characters he’d created.

I really wanted to like this book and, for a little bit, I did. I wasn’t sold by the Preface of the book, where Wilde talked about art a bit too much, but I did like the twists and turns throughout and some of the dialogue was quite funny. Saying that, I struggled to get into this book and – even more so – I struggled to get to the end.

Dorian Gray star rating

What are your thoughts? Have you read this before? I’d love to chat in the comments 😊

6 thoughts on “Book Review: The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

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