Classic Books Total: 20
A classic update.
Book #170: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
In order to understand a story, at times, one must go back to the original source: where in the world was the writer’s mind at the time of writing? I pose this question to Rev. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson aka Lewis Carroll. This book has been a part of many children’s lives including mine, so I decided to go back for a visit many years later as an adult. However, this time around, I was not impressed. Alice couldn’t stop talking, and I was annoyed that I had to read her boring thoughts every single time. She was also snobby and rude and lacked sensitivity towards animals. Everyone in this book was stone-cold cruel.
The story was random and all over the place and at some point, I wondered what drugs Carroll was on and could I have some, please? I bet it was some sort of hallucinogen. This book was sheer nonsense just as most of the so-call beloved classics I’ve read.
Alice is actually based on a real-life person: Alice Liddell. I don’t know what Carroll’s fascination and attraction to the 10-year-old was. In Victorian times, everyone was off their rockers.
Tim Burton described Carroll’s stories as “drugs for children” and Wonderland as a place where “everything is slightly off, even the good people.” I agree with him. The end.
Book #171: The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
I read this book twice: when I was in my preteen and as a young adult, so this was a 3rd reread. Yes, you read right, because back then, I thought Dorian Gray was simply all that.
Wilde is a master of painting and weaving beautiful words. It’s like an aesthetic. Dorian Gray is a beautiful yet corrupt man. Repeatedly mentioned are Gray’s blue eyes, scarlet lips, and golden hair, but he was easily manipulated because he couldn’t think for himself. What a beautiful brainless moron!
The book centers on narcissism right down to the point where Dorian was interested in an actress, Sybil Vane (Vain), a so-call love interest that wasn’t even needed for the book.
Harry or Henry or Whatever talked and talked and talked. I wanted to reach into the book and slap some sense into him. The passages were already too long and too descriptive and here’s shallow Harry or Henry or Whatever carrying on as if the book was about him. His disdain for the world and women resonated with Dorian who decides to set out to fall in love with vanity and pride. Harry or Henry or Whatever, was a snooze fest. Every word that tumbled out of his mouth made him out to be unintelligent, but it worked over Gray, who became a sort of experiment for him.
Now, I understand that Gray was supposed to be vain and horrible and all that jazz, and Harry or Henry or Whatever, just plain hateful for his wife wasn’t as beautiful as the stars at night, but the way these characters talk (Harry or Henry or Whatever who is jealous of Gray’s beauty and youth and Basil the painter who is obsessed with Gray) are downright suspicious. Basil and Harry or Henry or Whatever talked to Gray as if he was a sweet innocent little boy who’s being sexualized by these two old predators. The characters are soulless and dull for Wilde chose to focus on the senses to appeal to the audience. Wilde also enjoyed bashing women negatively that he didn’t realize his writing was so flowery he could’ve sold it in a Parisian flower market.
The book could’ve been better. Much better. A lot of people are fighting to stay forever young and eternally beautiful today and there’s always a price for it. Just look at those surgically disfigured faces looking at you from the cover of magazines. There’s a type of beauty that fascinates the world and its timeless beauty. There’s a reason why Tom Cruise is worshipped for his beauty in several parts of the world and why he’s called the “Dorian Gray of movies”. But he has fillers and plastic surgery to thank as well.
The content of this book was said to be indecent and morally wrong. It was called a work that “delights in dirtiness and confesses its delight” upon its release and the story reflects the author’s life at some point. I’m willing to read more Wilde, but I’m not particularly wild for him at the moment. To believe, I twice read and liked this drivel.