I finished reading this book rather late last night, but I couldn’t bare to put it down. Yeah, I know how that sounds, but actually, I think I have found my favorite book of all time 😀
I wanted to get my hands on the book ever since I saw the movie (which I loved btw :D) and learned that it is based on a book. But, of course, as it always happens when you see the movie first and read the book later, you are influenced by the movie and have certain expectations. But the book didn’t fail me. Actually, it turned out to be one of the most fascinating things I have ever read. And I want to make something clear, because at a point Dorian points out in the book, that if you are fascinated by something, that doesn’t necessarily mean you also like it. But I liked it. Well, loved it, actually 😀
The book presents the story of Dorian Gray, a young man whose exquisite beauty charms everyone who sees him. A painter, Basil Hallward, is stricken by his angel-like face and wonderful soul, and they become close friends. But when Basil finishes his masterpiece, a full sized painting of this dear friend, Dorian finally sees for his own the effect of his beauty and in a moment of despair, brought on by the words of Lord Henry Wotton, Dorian wishes that he would remain always as young and beautiful as he is now and that instead, the painting would grow old. Little does he know that his prayer has been answered.
Dorian and Lord Henry soon become good friends, and the young man is highly influenced by his companion’s views and theories about the world and he seems to discover himself in them. He changes, slowly but surely, form a pure young boy into a man with a bad reputation. But his beauty never leaves him. And all the harm he does to his soul has not a mark on him. But is has on the painting, as it gradually morphs into something hideous and evil.
Dorian is frightened at first, because he does not understand what is happening. But as he destroys his soul more and more, he feels a kind of joy to look at the portrait growing uglier and him being forever beautiful. But his conscience catches up with him as he commits his cruelest deed and fails to do a good one. He realizes that he is tired of the life he’s lead and the terrors the portrait beholds. The only question now is, how can he get out of the deal?
As I said, this is one of the most fascinating books I’ve ever read. It is a marvelous psychological study, because, as I see it, it somehow comes down to man’s search for happiness. Dorian sees happiness, influenced by the words of Lord Henry, in beauty and the fulfillment of the senses. He searches always for new experiences, so he can experience life.
Lord Henry’s views, on the other hand, have a sort of philosophical demeanor in a way. And what he claims is not all that bad, at least in my opinion. Some of his theories stirred something in me also and I feel that now I may understand myself a little better. And I love it when a book does this. Actually, quite a few books have made me really think of various topics and I loved them for that, but this is the first book that ever made me think about myself. It made me see life in another way, something I didn’t really see before.
Another thing I loved about the book is its time setting. Actually, I love all British classics that take place in that era, because they have a certain air that I truly love, and it always makes me think that I’ve been born in the wrong time 😀
So anyway, I would recommend this book to anyone, especially to those who like the classics 🙂 If you would like to read it online, you can find it here: The Picture of Dorian Gray. You can even download it from there if you’d like.
So that’s all for now and next time I’ll be presenting George Orwell’s “Animal Farm”. (I miss this book already :D)
Until then, have a nice day and a nice read 🙂