The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

I downloaded this ebook for free on Amazon

“ Some day, when you are old and wrinkled and ugly, when thought has seared your forehead with its lines, and passion branded your lips with its hideous fires, you will feel it, you will feel it terribly.”

So, I wanted 2018 to be the year that I try to get back into classics! In the past, I’ve found some of them daunting to read, or just too boring to ever feel invested in. But I feel like The Picture of Dorian Gray was the perfect start.

Beautiful art by saku-chann on Tumblr

I originally was going to give this three stars, because I enjoyed it enough, but was never too invested. I felt annoyed at how these characters were so obviously not straight. I mean, a vast majority of this book is about Dorian taking a wife. Meanwhile, every man in this book just has full page monologues telling Dorian how beautiful he is. And then I sat down to do my review, and I started doing my research.

It’s no secret that Oscar Wilde was a gay man. Hell, he was even jailed for his sexuality, and died soon after from all the inhumane injuries he endured while in prison. All three major male character in this book read very… not straight. My friend, Destiny, told me that a lot of readers in the Horror circles make strong arguments that Dorian is in fact pansexual, which makes me happier than I can express with words. Yet, I can’t help but think about parallels with this book that Wilde crafted about “secret sin” and how it mirrored his life and perhaps his sexuality that he ultimately died for.

You guys, I have no words. In the 1880s people thought homosexuality was some disease, something to be cured, something not okay to simply just be. Something that was a criminal act. Something that Oscar Wilde was jailed and forced to do hard labor for. And once you start seeing the similarities between Wilde’s life and the events that take place in this book, you will realize that like The Picture of Dorian Gray is so much more important that the surface value of just reading this story.

Okay, I do suppose I should tell you about the story now. This is a tale that centers around three men that live in an upper-class London society:

➽ Basil Hallward – Artist who befriends Dorian because he is obsessed with his beauty and lives his life painting many portraits of him, but more importantly, he paints the portrait that this story surrounds.

➽ Lord Henry Wotton – Basil’s friend, which is how he meets Dorian. Henry is a manipulator that heavily influences Dorian with his views about what is important in life.

➽ Dorian Gray – Our main character, who starts out so young, innocent, and impressionable. He later is harboring a major secret and will stop at nothing to hide this secret and the events that lead him to this secret.

“There are only two kinds of people who are fascinating – people who know absolutely everything and people who know absolutely nothing.”

In this book, the value of appearance is heavily touched upon. Youth and beauty seem to be everyone’s priority. It’s scary and sad how much this also mirrors 2018. There is also a huge discussion to be had about good versus evil and how we view that grey area in-between. Yet, these discussions are held in this seamlessly woven story.

Overall, even though I didn’t five star this, I really enjoyed it and it was able to evoke a lot of emotion from me. More importantly, I recommend you all to read My dear friend Navessa’s review, which ended up evoking even more emotion from me. She linked this article, which then made me weep. Again, this story is so much more than a paranormal painting, and a man trying to hide secrets. This is a masterpiece and my heart will forever break thinking about this story.

Trigger/content warnings: death, murder, suicide, and a ton of misogynistic comments.

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Buddy read with Dani from Book Geeks Uncompromised! ❤

35 thoughts on “The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

  1. I just read this one not too long ago. My favorite character was Basil. I too gave it a 3 stars, but didn’t change my mind in the end like you did, but agreed that the characters are very gay. It’s sad that community was treated the way it was back then. Not a bad book at all though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I just ended up having such a cathartic experience… Lord, I’m going to be thinking about this book for some time! So powerful! But I hope my next classic read/reread is just as good! Happy reading, love! 💘xx

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love Oscar Wilde. Glad you enjoyed it in the end. If you want to read (in my mind anyway) the greatest poem ever written (and have half an hour free) try reading Oscar Wilde’s ‘The Ballad if Reading Gaol’. It was inspired by his time in prison and it’s so beautiful.

    That’s a freebie on the kindle as well, I think.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve been great, thanks. How about your lovely self? Let me know what you think of the poem when you get round to it 😊 If you downloaded the same as me then it has loads of works in it. I, being the heathen that I am, just skipped to where the Reading Gaol poem was 🙈 x

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I read this book a few years back (when I was still committed to reading at least 1 classic/year) and really liked it. I knew Oscar Wilde was gay, but had no idea any of that happened to him – absolutely horrifying.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yeah I definitely saw this as not straight- but then so did a lot of people at the time- that’s why so many people called it “immoral”. Wilde penned the preface in response, where he said “There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.”- which is both incredible apt and a big “up yours” (if you’ll pardon the expression) to all his detractors. Anyway, glad you ended up getting something out of it. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. *CRIES FOREVER* What a damn masterpiece. And I love the expression! Hahaha. I don’t think I’m ever going to forget this reading experience! And hopefully my next classic read/reread is less… heartbreaking. Hehe. Happy reading, love! 💘xx

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m glad you enjoyed it! I did a major essay on this when I was in school, focusing primarily on the use of language and Dorian’s egotistical and dark ways. I truly love how beautifully written it is yet how dark this book is. When I studied more about Wilde, I felt so bad for him…there aren’t even words.

    Either way, I love how you pointed out the history of Wilde and that you enjoyed his novella!! Another amazing review…as usual 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awh, thank you so much, Jenna love! You are too kind, and such a blessing! After I finished I was like, “wow, I wish I could take a class JUST on this book alone!” because it just feels so layered! I think you could read it differently each and every time!

      I hope you’re having the happiest of reading! ❤ xx

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I loved your review! At one point in time I was obsessed with Oscar Wilde and found him fascinating. I’m glad you did your research and touched upon him as an author and how it mirrored his writing. So great!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Ah, it’s one of those books I am yet to read myself… was actually thinking of watching the movie first 😀 hehehe…
    As for classics- I have been meaning to squeeze a few more in myself this year… I got two of H.G. Wells books and after watching an action movie – Acts of Vengeance- where Antonio Banderas reads Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, I also went and got that book… should be interesting 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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