*** About the Book ***
Lord Henry's focus in life is to entertain himself and he finds entertainment in molding the personality of Dorian Gray. Dorian is young and very handsome, and Lord Henry teaches him that beauty is vitally important and that those who lose their beauty lose their power as well.
In a fit of passion Dorian wishes that he could always stay as good looking as the painting of himself done by his dear friend Basil. Somehow, this actually comes to pass: Dorian stays always the same and the portrait begins to change. It doesn't actually age though. Instead is becomes the physical manifestation of the sins Dorian commits ...
*** Why I Listened To It ***
This book was on my TBR list because it is on the 1,001 Books You Must Read list, and that means it counts for the 1% Well Read Challenge. It is also one of the two books for this year's Dueling Monsters read-a-long.
Plus I wanted to read it because Dorian Gray is in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen - a movie which I truly love.
*** My Thoughts ***
|Dorian in "The League ..."|
I can't really discuss this book without some MINOR spoilers. I don't think anything I say will ruin the book in any way for a new reader but if you really don't want to know ANYTHING about it than you better not keep reading this section - suffice it to say that I have mixed feeling about this book.
Ok, so - there were parts of this book that I liked and parts that I didn't like. Let's start with the likes:
- the writing is gorgeous - it was a pure pleasure to listen to (most of) it
- the story is intriguing - how WOULD you behave if your looks gave you power over those around you?
- the characters are very believable - I could understand their motivations and actions, and it all made sense based on what I knew about each character
- the (long) section on Dorian's interests and collections - I think the point that he is vain and interested in beautiful things could have been made in a lot less space
- some things were too coincidental - I'm thinking specifically of Dorian running into Sybil's brother ... really?!
- there was lots of innuendo and very little fact - the author hints us that Dorian has done some very horrible things but we only see a very few of those
- I didn't quite get how Dorian went from being somewhat vain and self-centered to being completely horrid - he doesn't come across as being as bad as the author seems to want him to (not that murder isn't bad!)
*** Dueling Monsters? ***
I have already read and reviewed The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde so I can say with certainty that, on the basis of which monster is creepier, I'm giving the title to Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde, hands down. Dorian isn't exactly pleasant, and he commits some horrible acts, but I blame part of who he is on Lord Henry. Dorian doesn't set out to be evil - it all starts with simple vanity.
Actually, I find Lord Henry creepier than Dorian. He decides early in the book that his new project is to see how much he can mold and influence Dorian, and he does it for his own amusement. Lord Henry cares nothing for the consequences of his actions - THAT is a crime that I have a hard time forgiving.
*** Your Thoughts ***
Amanda @ The Zen Leaf mentioned that she couldn't get past the first scene of the new Dorian Gray movie. Has anyone else seen it? How does it compare to the book?
If you've read this one, let me know what you think of it!