Posted in Book Reviews, Posts

Lolita

Humbert Humbert – scholar, aesthete and romantic – has fallen completely and utterly in love with Lolita Haze, his landlady’s gum-snapping, silky skinned twelve-year-old daughter. Reluctantly agreeing to marry Mrs Haze just to be close to Lolita, Humbert suffers greatly in the pursuit of romance; but when Lo herself starts looking for attention elsewhere, he will carry her off on a desperate cross-country misadventure, all in the name of Love. Hilarious, flamboyant, heart-breaking and full of ingenious word play, Lolita is an immaculate, unforgettable masterpiece of obsession, delusion and lust.
Lolita.jpg
I have no idea how to write this review. I’ve given the book 4 stars, but I don’t know if I mean it. What the heck did I think about it? Did I enjoy it or not?
I hate the topic, and that’s kind of all I’m sure about. I hate that Humbert is such a creep. He’s a paedophilic rapist, and yeah, that’s creepy, but it’s even creepier if you think about how weird it would be even if Lolita was his age. Watching her get changed? Stroking her leg on the couch? Marrying her mother so he can have sex with her? Is no one seeing a problem with this? Every single thing Humbert does in relation to Lolita makes me want to throw up. It’s why this book took me so long to read – I actually had to stop and physically shudder every few pages. Lolita’s pains were barely explored, which is terrible considering the situation she was in. I wanted to hug the poor thing, but it was hard when there was such obvious victim blaming. But I’ll get to that. It made the book really hard to feel motivated to pick it up to read, even knowing I had a school deadline to have it read by. I ended up getting it done a week too late, oops.

The thing is, the actual writing was amazing. Let’s quote me; “I actually had to stop and physically shudder every few pages.” This author was so spectacular that he made me feel all this emotion over something that was obviously fictional. He was so inside the head of Humbert that you really felt you were listening to him tell you his story about Lolita. Yes, there was arguably victim blaming, but it was written from the rapist, should I be surprised? Her pain was brushed over because in his eyes (and therefore ours), it didn’t exist. How could she not be happy when he loved her so much? He was creepy and disgusting, and I loved it. It was amazing getting into the head of someone so sick and twisted, because that’s something you can never understand otherwise. Don’t worry, there was no way I was ever going to sympathise with him, but I understood why he felt justified.

As well as that, the language was beautiful. Let’s pretend for a second that Lolita isn’t 12 (I know – twelve!). How romantic is this?

“It was love at first sight, at last sight, at ever and ever sight.”
“I knew I had fallen in love with Lolita forever; but I also knew she would not be forever Lolita.”
“We live not only in a world of thoughts, but also in a world of things. Words without experience are meaningless.”
Do you see what I mean? He’s a creep, but God can he write. The entire book was written in this same gorgeous style. I got a bit annoyed at the snippets of French; there was hardly ever enough context for me to translate it on my own, but it would be interesting to have gone through and worked it all out.

Do you understand why I’m so confused now? It was simultaneously terrible and amazing. I couldn’t pick it up and I couldn’t put it down. Would I recommend it? Who knows?

 

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Author:

I was a book blogger for a while, and I now blog about every little thing in life I can think of. Bear with me while I try all these new posts out... I'm a New Zealand teen who gets angry about the world (but not angry enough for tumblr). I like to capture the world through photos and words, and read in all the moments in nz-squadbetween. I have an overwhelming desire to see every corner of the world I possibly can, and hug the people I love in all those corners. I can't do make up to save myself, and you're more likely to find me buying matching stationary than matching clothes. My nerd hobbies include a new found love of the Avengers, reading YA, watching Game of Thrones, How I Met Your Mother, and every vlogger I can find, and being the last person on the music bandwagons. I have big plans for the rest of my life, including university, teaching, travelling, and having an army of puppies. I plan to blog every second of it!

17 thoughts on “Lolita

  1. I know it’s a creepy book, as you said, but I really, really want to read it. I read somewhere that part of the reason why the story and writing is great is because Humbert is as obsessed with words as he is with Lolita.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve heard a lot about this book, but the main thing that put me off reading it was the size! I don’t think it’s unusual to admire a book by the way it’s written, even though the subject is hard to digest. It reminds me of things like A Clockwork Orange or American Psycho. They both deal with crazy things, and have the weirdest protagonists but they’re still incredibly popular books… so I don’t think you’re the only one!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t have much time. A two week deadline so I’m just going to go with Crime and Punishment. That way I can finish this assignment on time and not get the total wiggins from being in Humbert’s head.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. This is a great review 🙂 I completely agree with what you’ve written; I read the book and the subject is way beyond disturbing…but Nabakov writes easily some of the best prose I have ever read. It’s certainly an awkward book to go around recommending to people, but in terms of style rather than content it’s a masterpiece.

    Liked by 1 person

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