Book review: The Picture of Dorian Gray

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 book

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

The Plot 

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.

My initial thoughts

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

I loved every sentence uttered by Lord Henry and I kept highlighting the quotes like crazy. Wondering what book I am talking about, read my review of #thepictureofDorianGray here. Click To Tweet

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.

Bottom-line:

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.

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. Click To Tweet

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picture of dorian gray

Let us chat

Have you read this one? 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.

11 COMMENTS

  1. 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!
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