Thursday, December 10, 2009

Book Review: Lolita

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

Disclosure: No one paid me in any way, form or fashion to do this review.

Some consider Lolita to be a love story. And it's true. The narrator does love Lolita. He adores her. It just happens that Lolita is 12 when he meets her. He's obsessed with her. A pedophile and the love of his life, his nymphet (as he terms the young girls he's attracted to).

On the surface, this book is a disturbing read. It's plot is a subject most of us would rather not know the details and motivation behind. We'd rather not even think about it.

Deeper, I've heard that this book is a metaphor for Old Europe v. post-WWII America, which many Europeans of the time considered barbaric and crass. A metaphor that looking back totally makes sense to me. I guess Nabokov chose such a controversial subject for his metaphor because it got people to notice, to talk.

The writing is beautiful (if you can look past the dark and twisty elements of the story) and quite witty. Keep a dictionary on hand because you'll need it. Words that I don't think I saw even on the SAT were in this book. It's a good thing I've got unlimited texts because I kept asking Google for definitions since I don't carry a dictionary in my bag.

I'm not sure I can say I enjoyed this book. But the writing had me hooked in a way that's difficult to describe. I guess I kept hoping that something would happen to redeem the main character, and I was mesmerized by the lyrical nature, the intelligence of the writing.

If you're looking for a light, easy read, this is not it. But if you want something with a lot of depth and layers, something that makes for an emotional discussion, Lolita would be a good choice.

Next month: Heaping Spoonful by Shauna Glenn

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