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Saturday, May 9, 2009

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov~★★

Author: Vladimir Nabokov
Title: Lolita
Release Date: First released in 1955; this edition released in 1993
Publisher: Everyman's Library
Genre: Fiction

Book Jacket: "When it was published in 1955, Lolita immediately became a cause celebre because of the freedom and sophistication with which it handled the unusual erotic predilection of its protagonist. But Vladimir Nabokov's wise, ironic, elegant masterpiece owes its stature as one of the twentieth century's novels of record not the controversy its material aroused but to its author's use of that material to tell a love story almost shocking in its beauty and tenderness.
Awe and exhilaration--along with heartbreak and mordant wit--abound in this account of the aging Humbert Humbert's obsessive, devouring, and doomed passion for the nymphet Dolores Haze. Lolita is also the story of a hypercivilized European colliding with the cheerful barbarism of post war America, but most of all, it is a meditation on love--love as outrage and hallucination, madness and transformation."

Taryn's Review: I have to scoff at the book jacket's description of this novel as a "love story." Really? Was it love for Lolita when at age 12 she was whisked away by her new stepfather Humbert Humbert to be repeatedly raped and forced to perform sexual acts on him? Was it love when he told her that her mother had died and drove her around the country for a year having his way with her 12/13 year old body and mind?

I have read reviews and some argued that Humbert Humbert was not a pedophile. I have to disagree and say that he was. He preyed on young girls, even if he didn't always use them. He watched them and wished to have them. And when given the opportunity to have Lolita, he did.

The subject matter of the book is the reason it only received 2 stars. I think the writing was good, but I cannot for the life of me stomach the main character and what he did to that poor child. When he is blabbing on about her "baby fat stomach" or her flat chest, my stomach heaved. There are times that I don't agree with the lists of "classic" books, and this is one of them. Lolita is sad and heartbreaking, for the childhood of an innocent young girl was stolen by the selfishness and greed of a man who used his role as guardian to have complete control over her body and her mind.

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