Picture of Dorian Gray, The: Book review

Do you believe when people say that a book finds you at the right time? Well that has happened to me again. Well I finally go the courage to pick up The Picture of Dorian Gray and it did have its effect on me. Shall we get on with it?

I know I made tall orders for the year and I vowed to read more classics, loosely following the Penguin Classic Challenge and the Children’s Classic challenge. And it is February and am trying to keep up my promise by reading The Picture of Dorian Gray for January. I might have broken the suspense on how it was already, haven’t I?

About The Picture of Dorian Gray

picture of dorian gray

Book Name: The Picture of Dorian Gray

Author:  Oscar Wilde

Genre: Fiction – Classics, Literary, Paranormal

Characters: Dorian Gray, Basil Hallward, Lord Henry Wotton, Sibyl Vane, James Vane, Lady Wotton

Setting: England, The UK

Plot Summary of The Picture of Dorian Gray

Basil Hayward, an artist, is smitten by his muse Dorian Gray, who is young, innocent and beautiful and he introduces him to his best friend and worldly Lord Henry Wotton, somewhat reluctantly. Lord Henry’s worldly, hedonistic approach to life fascinates young Dorian and strikes a Faustian deal that he would stay young forever, instead his picture would. 

With some help from Lord Henry’s ideology Dorian goes on to being his reckless, vain and sadistic self with his eternal youth while the picture pays the price for all of them. You should definitely read The Picture of Dorian Gray to know what happened next in this crazy Victorian story.

Book review of The Picture of Dorian Gray

I LOVED this one and I cannot recommend it enough to people who love to read lyrical, smooth prose and/or want to have deep philosophical discussion about men and their psychology. The book is full of interesting characters who are so larger than life, especially Lord Henry. I loved every sentence uttered by Lord Henry and I kept highlighting the quotes like crazy

There were times when it became a bit slow, especially when talking about the materialistic obsessions of Dorian. But it gains its pace soon enough.

There are several layers and themes discussed like morality, selfishness, identity, greed, mortality and of course hedonism. And The Picture of Dorian Gray does come with a moral that materialistic life is not all and our sins do come back to haunt us. 

I went on a hunt to find all the vague innuendos for homosexuality and boy, I was not disappointed at all. I can understand how scandalous this book must have been for Oscar Wilde was incarcerated for writing this one. 

Things that worked for me

  • Wilde’s witty and funny writing kept me hooked throughout.
  • I loved Lord Henry’s hedonistic philosophy to life. 

Things that didn’t work for me

There were a few places when the writing became a bit dragging.

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If you are looking for something more substantial than your regular run of the mill love story, with a lot of allegorical and witty writing The Picture of Dorian Gray should be your pick. If this is what all (or most.. or a few) classics like, keep them coming and I might as well make this – a year of classic.

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Let us chat

Have you read of The Picture of Dorian Gray? If so who is your favorite character of all? What classics should I read next? What was the last classic you read? Let us talk.


  1. Kristen @ Metaphors and Moonlight

    This was one of my favorites in high school. I didn’t love it quite as much when I reread it later cuz of the sometimes dragging that you mentioned, but I do love how thought-provoking it is! I also highlighted so many of Lord Henry’s quotes! He has the best, most thought-provoking ones. I’m glad you liked the book so much!

    • Gayathri

      I love Lord Henry’s thoughts too!

  2. Whispering Stories

    I’ve never read the book. I tend to shy away from the classics.

  3. Stormi Johnson

    I’ve always went back and forth on reading this one. Maybe I’ll give it a chance soon!

  4. DJ Sakata

    Well done – I remember reading this in high school

  5. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

    Great review, and I am so glad you enjoyed The Picture of Dorian Gray! I loved this book when I read it in high school and would like to re-read it sometime this year to see if it holds the same allure now. I love when a book finds you at just the right time, it’s so magical!

    • Gayathri

      I might pick Frankenstein before the end of the year.

  6. Aleen @ Lampshade Reader

    I’ve been meaning to read this one but haven’t. Great review! Makes me want to pick it up soon.

    • Gayathri

      It was worth the effort!

  7. Laura Thomas

    Excellent review, Gayathri! I read this a long time ago and can’t remember my emotions then. I should reread it and see how it affects me now.

    • Gayathri

      If you do let me know how it goes.



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Gayathri has been reviewing books since 2010. When she is not reading books or creating online content, she works as a writer and a digital marketer. Head over to meet me!