The Picture of Dorian Gray, a review

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde is a well known classic. Which makes it even more odd that I somehow didn’t know the concept of this book before going in! Odd or not, I knew nothing about this before I opened it up (thanks blurb for not actually telling me anything about the book) so it was an experience.

If, like me, you know nothing about this book, it follows a young man who has his portrait painted by a (slightly obsessed) artist. This painting then takes on any physical changes to Dorian, both ages, and changes as his personality worsens, whilst Dorian’s face stays exactly the same.

Once I had gathered the concept, the rest of the book was then pretty predictable. I actually wrote a rough draft of what I thought was going to happen when I was about 3 chapters into the book and I wasn’t wrong!

Highlight here if you want to see my prediction: He’ll do some evil shit, see his painting again after years and then have a breakdown at how his life has been awful and this is the true him. Or at least that’s my prediction.

This is quite a short little book, and I of course don’t want to spoil it for you. So I don’t think I’ll say much more, past that the characters were interesting to read from and to see how they changed over the years.

On CAWPILE I rated this: Characters: 5, Atmosphere: 5, Writing: 6, Plot: 7, Intrigue: 6, Logic: 7, and Enjoyment: 6, which gives an average of 6 for the score and a 3.5* rating.

Highlight here for trigger warnings: murder, death, misogyny, suicide, blood, antisemitism, violence, toxic friendship, sexism, racism, addiction, gaslighting, drug abuse, toxic relationship, drug use, gore, racial slurs, suicidal thoughts, injury, body horror, body shaming, emotional abuse, grief, alcohol, gun violence, homophobia, mental illness, suicide attempt, outing, colonisation.

Overall, this is an interesting classic, and I adored the concept. But for some reason the execution just didn’t vibe with me. I might have to reread this one in the future, now that I know the concept, and see if my opinions change at all.

Have you read Dorian Gray or anything else from Wilde? What did you think? Tell me down below!

Friction – a review

Frictions is the second book from a mini box set I was gifted of short Swedish classics, sadly, unlike the first book from the set I read this wasn’t so much of a hit.

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The premise of the story is we’re following a man who is married but has fell in love with another woman. It talks about the ostracisation of the two of them and their struggles. On its own that concept isn’t so bad, but it’s the execution that I’m not so keen on. I’m sure in it’s time this was accepted but nowadays?

Basically, this is ridiculously sexist. Strindberg attempts to make our protagonist seem like a well rounded but troubled man. Instead, in a modern climate at least, he comes off like an unhappy idiot. And a sexist one at that. Our main character demonstrates the belief that men can grow and change over time as they mature and increase their intelligence, but that women are stagnant and cannot match up to the minds of men.

Strindberg seems to be attempting to praise these women for the role they play in essentially mothering our main character, but instead all this achieves is to highlight his antiquated views of gender roles and the place of women within society.

The entire time I was just… annoyed. Annoyed and frustrated at this baby of a “man” who couldn’t seem to grasp that the world doesn’t revolve around him and that him acting as though it does is ruining the lives of the people around him.

This book was a very interesting look into Swedish classic literature and their society at this time, and that’s why I gave it 2 stars. But the poor characterisation and obvious sexism made this an unenjoyable read.