Book review: Lolita (by Vladimir Nabokov)

Title: Lolita
Author: Vladimir Nabokov
Page count: 300 pages (fake-leather bound hardback edition that I can`t find on Goodreads)
Rating: 2/5 stars on Goodreads

(No picture of the cover today, because there are so many covers it doesn`t really matter, does it?)

(Also yes, there are spoilers in this review. But the book is from 1955 and kind of very famous, so. Sorry not sorry.)

Lolita is the first classic I`ve read in 2015, and one of the most controversial books I have ever read – if not THE most controversial book. This book from 1955, about a grown man who has a liking for “nymphets” (young, sexually mature girls roughly in the 10~14-year-old age range) and who falls in love with a 12-year-old girl called Dolores Haze, who he calls Lolita. You can probably guess what happens next.

I am glad to be able to say I have read a classic, controversial book. And that`s pretty much where my gladness ends.

Now, just to clarify: I don`t have a background in literature. I have no knowledge of literature-y things like wordplay or themes and rarely pick up on social or political criticism. Apparently there is a lot of humour in this book? Completely missed it. Or maybe I was just too horrified. As such, this book probably deserves more than 2 stars, but I`m not going to give it here. To me, this was an okay read, an interesting look inside the mind of a paedophile and a madman.

This book mostly just made me very uncomfortable and often even horrified. After all, this is a book about a man who ruins a young girl`s life, who rapes her and kidnaps her and lies to her and blackmails her, and is so out of touch with reality that he doesn`t see how he`s ruining her until she`s years older and married to someone else.

Apparently there are people who say this book is a love story. If there`s anything that makes me more uncomfortable than the story itself, it`s the people saying it`s a love story.

This is not love. This is not art. This is not beautiful.

This is child rape and abuse.

And if you ever meet anyone who supports this? Who empathises with the main character, Humbert? Or sympathises with him? Or thinks this is a love story? Run from that person. Run very fast.

And that, my dear readers, is all I have to say about this book.

For now I`m reading Yukichi Fukuzawa`s autobiography, and I`ll see you again soon!

Take care 🙂

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10 Responses to Book review: Lolita (by Vladimir Nabokov)

  1. lovebooksandblush says:

    I just recently reviewed this as well and gave it a different rating (5/5) but I understand your rating. I don’t agree with people who call it a love story. I also don’t feel comfortable with people who sympathize with Humbert. The man is an evil, twisted pedophile and none of the language he uses should hoodwink the reader into thinking he is something else.

    Nice post!

    • kojitmal says:

      Especially since there are very important parts in the book where it`s made clear that Dolly is NOT happy here, she is here against her will, she`s trying to get out, and Humbert is a manipulative bastard who keeps stopping her.

      And thanks for reading! =D

  2. Cara says:

    Humbert IS a manipulative bastard, there is no doubt about that. But YES, in his own way (a warped way) he does love Lolita.

    • kojitmal says:

      Hmm for the most part of the book I wasn`t actually sure if he loved Lolita, her body, or the idea of her. It`s not the same thing. He admits several times that he doesn`t actually know what she`s like, what she likes or wants or thinks about things. For the longest time, he doesn`t care, as long as he has that pretty prepubescent girl to rape.

      I think for the majority of the book what he feels is lust, not love. All he wants to do is have sex with her. That`s all he thinks about, that`s why he drugs her and her mother, that`s why he marries her mother and doesn`t care if she dies. It`s an obsession, really. I don`t think it deserves the word “love”, it`s an obsession of a madman, someone who couldn`t even get little girls out of his head when he`s in the Arctic with a research team.

      At the end he does feel some remorse, but I`m still not sure whether he loves her or the idea of her he`s formed in his head.

      • Cara says:

        YEAH he’s a madman, he’s a pedophile. YOU and I might not think what he does to Lolita deserves the word love, butt he thinks he loves her (granted, he also kidnaps her, rapes her, lies repeatedly, and is a sick, depraved individual, and what he thinks he’s doing is not the same as what a normal, well-adjusted person would think he’s doing)

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