Review: The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde


“Behind every exquisite thing that existed, there was something tragic.”

My Rating: ★★★ 1/2

Genre(s): Classics, Fiction

Reading Challenge: 12 out of 50

Goodreads Synopsis —

Written in his distinctively dazzling manner, Oscar Wilde’s story of a fashionable young man who sells his soul for eternal youth and beauty is the author’s most popular work. The tale of Dorian Gray’s moral disintegration caused a scandal when it first appeared in 1890, but though Wilde was attacked for the novel’s corrupting influence, he responded that there is, in fact, “a terrible moral in Dorian Gray.” Just a few years later, the book and the aesthetic/moral dilemma it presented became issues in the trials occasioned by Wilde’s homosexual liaisons, which resulted in his imprisonment. Of Dorian Gray’s relationship to autobiography, Wilde noted in a letter, “Basil Hallward is what I think I am: Lord Henry what the world thinks me: Dorian what I would like to be—in other ages, perhaps.”

My Thoughts —

So I went into this book with a very different idea of what it was about. I honestly can’t remember now what I thought this book was about before I read it. At this point, I’m so overwhelmed by it all that I can’t even register it all haha. Essentially, The Picture of Dorian Gray is a story all about morality and a young society man who sells his soul in order to be eternally youthful - and it comes with severe consequences. It’s a Wilde story. SORRY I had to.

The first half of this book was quite slow, in my opinion. I kept waiting for there to be some big “wow” moment, which did ultimately come - but not until several chapters into the book. Eventually though, once that moment did come, the rest of the book was intriguing and it was fairly jam-packed with twists, turns, and intensity.

One of the things about this novel that I didn’t necessarily love was that there were often very long bits of dialogue. It bothered me a bit. Not terribly, but just worth mentioning. However, this is probably a consequence of it being an older novel. If you’ve ever read a Jane Austen novel, you know how well she could write a run-on sentence so each author has their thing y’know? Long dialogue just sort of loses my attention after awhile.

The writing, however, was very good overall. And once the plot quickened in pace, the storytelling was extremely interesting. Unfortunately, there isn’t much that I can say about the actual plot without giving away a bunch, however I can say that it was certainly a page-turner! I thought it was a good novel, although I wouldn’t say it was particularly my taste or one of my favourite classic novels.

Have you read The Picture of Dorian Gray? What did you think?

Felicia x