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The Picture of Dorian Gray / by Oscar Wilde

The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde

There was so much that I just hated about The Picture of Dorian Gray!  I hated all of the characters except Basil (and he wasn't in the story that much, otherwise I'd have probably hated him, too), I hated the structure and pacing of this story, and I wasn't overly enamored of the writing, to be perfectly honest!


But, I read this to the end (well, I did skip about 10 pages when the book was going on about all the fancy-schmancy stuff that Dorian had accumulated--like I care about his Louis Quatorze whatever, and I certainly don't care about it for 30 freakin' pages!).  It was the dark parts that kept me hanging on.  Just as I was about to cry in bored frustration, Wilde would start explaining how Dorian's portrait had changed, or he'd dive into the dark places of Dorian's soul, or he'd have Dorian do something really, really bad.  In one memorable part Wilde even saw fit to deposit us into Dorian's hansom cab and let us ride along with him to the tawdry opium dens/gambling houses/brothells down on the docks!  That was the best this book got--it was creepy, it was dark, it felt kind of Jekyll and Hyde-ish, or sort of Whitechapel-ish at the time of Jack the Ripper.  It was a little unnerving.


The problem, though, was that Wilde just implied a lot of Dorian's sins and debaucheries.  He spanned 18 years of Dorian's life in the matter of a few pages (a few pages in which we had to endure a lot of histrionics and superficialities, as well as a lot of prattle about beauty, youth, art, and luxury).  I just couldn't love this book.  I couldn't really even get to the point of "liking" this book.  I hated a lot about it.  But the dark parts were very nicely done, and so for those I can't say that I hated everything about The Picture of Dorian Gray; I just hated most of it.