Book Review – The Picture of Dorian Gray

by Oscar Wilde

Started: 24th March 2015

Finished: 24th March 2015

This is a classic that has been on my ‘to-read’ list for years and I just never got round to reading it. Finally, it was put on a module reading list so I got an opportunity to read it. I’ve heard a lot about this book and Wilde himself, which really intrigued me and made me excited to get stuck in!

The book revolves around Dorian Gray and his descent into immorality. As his behaviour worsens, his portrait that has been hidden away begins to deteriorate and take on the damage caused by Gray on himself. Towards the end of the novella Gray wonders whether immortality is something he really wanted.

I loved the way this story was written, it was very easy to get into and it was very funny and witty at times – which I expected coming from Wilde. These were also characteristics found in many of the characters. I enjoyed seeing the development of Dorian Gray, how he’s kind of shy and innocent when we first meet him and how this gradually changes (especially towards the climax of the story). I also liked Lord Henry. Well, I say ‘liked’… I found him interesting with a lot of amusing ideas on what Dorian should be doing. He’s not a ‘good’ character (in fact I don’t think any of them are) but he did fascinate me. So did Basil too, to an extent but I don’t think you see enough of him.

The plot itself was intriguing, however after hearing so much about the book I had high expectations and expected more than what was presented. The plot was great and held my attention but it wasn’t as shocking or explicit in some parts as I was lead to believe it would be. In addition there also didn’t seem to be much in terms of an explanation of the portrait, which I would have liked some more of. But, I understand why Wilde possibly avoided that. I would have loved it to have been longer as I got very into it, however having it the length it is increases the impact of Dorian’s downward spiral.

Overall, I did love this book and I’m pleased I’ve finally got a chance to read it. I will definitely look more into more of Wilde’s works in the future.

Rating: 4/5

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