Wednesday, January 15, 2014


To follow up to Reading Lolita in Tehran, I read Lolita. I don't know that I would have picked it up otherwise, but I wanted to see for myself what could make this story a classic and a frequent topic of study.

This story is unsettling. There are so many things that turn the reader off from the main character,almost from the beginning. For many current readers, I think this actually starts before reading anything. Many of us know that the story is about the seduction/abduction of a twelve year old girl. A lot of people can't get past that, and to be honest I can't blame them. It's difficult to read, knowing that the reality is far away from what Humbert sees from his perspective.

From that standpoint, the story is about his obsession and his delusion. It's about completely losing control by trying to take the ultimate control of another person. That's what I think draws people back to this book. Nabokov provides so much depth and so many layers to the depravity that makes up Humbert. It's possible to be taken in by his delusions and see the seduction he imagines is taking place. 

I wonder if there's a part of all of us that has the capacity for living under delusion. Not that I think most people would make it to the level Humbert does, but we all have a tendency to think of ourselves as right in all circumstances. Self-awareness is scary, and sometimes it's easier just to blame other people for the bad decisions we make.  

Please do not take anything in this review as condoning sexual abuse, or abuse of any kind. It's not OK. If you or someone you know are being abused, please don't be afraid to seek help.

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