What a strange and peculiar little book this was, Lolita. What was the author’s intention in writing it, I wonder? Was he plagued by some grotesque infatuation with prepubescent children? It’s the first thought springing to mind. Why else would you write such a tale other than to wrestle with your own demons?
Was it something else he had in mind?
I don’t even remember when I discovered this book, I don’t think it was very long after that I put it on my list and then subsequently picked it up and started reading.
(You can read all of my book reviews here.)
So, lets talk a little about this strange fascination the world has with perversion and the destruction of innocence, and why this book became such a success.….
So, awhile back, I discovered this little book and wondered why it had been such a resounding success when it was published.
I didn’t quite realize the story of Humbert and Deloris would turn into a story of a pedophile and his prey.
But quickly it slipped off the edge as he talked at length about what made the perfect nymphet, a term he described as being so young to have none of those grotesque feminine features.
And, so, from the chance meeting and marrying of Deloris’ mother, to her untimely and rather gruesome death, to the spur of the moment travel, and eventual drugging and rape in the hotel room, the man Humbert got all that he wanted and more.
He even claimed she was, “just as guilty as the pervert. Just as mistaken, psychologically misshapen, she used him just as much as he abused her.”
Something strange is going on here.
For, even the makers of the major motion pictures had to cast a young Deloris with a 15 year old actress, because there simply was no way to portray a 12 year old as sexual. But, to him, he saw her altogether different than others. He saw, “the slightly feline outline of a cheekbone, the slenderness of a downy limbs, and other indices which despair and shame and tears of tenderness forbid me to tabulate―the little deadly demon among the wholesome children; she stands unrecognized by them and unconscious herself of her fantastic power.”
And, for Humbert to describe her as, “indeed demoniac” leads me to believe he was in some way more than we might imagine unhinged.
So much more, indeed.
What I Think is Really Going On
Let me explain the theory in which I am working with. The humble Humbert we see throughout the book from his eyes only. Never from the perspective of Deloris or her mother or his murdered victim.
I think it, in his own mind, Humbert believed everything he wrote. He believed Deloris had ultimately made, at the last moment, an advance toward him. She wanted him as much as he wanted her.
But, I think we get a few glimpses into the mind of Deloris, the author letting little showing….just enough.
All those years later, after she’d escaped with Quilty and set up house with the boy man destined for Alaska, Deloris lets slip the truth of her life with her stepfather’s predilections when she says, “he broke my heart, you merely broke my life.”
I don’t think Deloris ever made advances toward her stepfather. I think he went to the hotel room and had his way with an innocent girl and, thus, irrevocably broke her to the world, ruining her future.
If ever we were to get Deloris’ perspective, I think it would be starkly different.
She did survive, though, albeit, as he put it, so psychologically misshapen.
Deloris married and had a child on the way. She got from her stepfather all that she hoped she would, $7000 and a new life in the snow and the cold.
I wonder, though, if she ever heard news of Humbert’s dealings with Clare? Had he reached out to her again, to damage her once more with tails of his misdeeds?
I would like to hope not.
Hopefully, he just took his punishment, and let her be. For on both counts he was guilty as sin. He was as hopeless as all manner of men and beast you might find. He said it best, “the poison was in the wound, you see. And the wound wouldn’t heal.”
I also wonder from time to time, how Deloris ended up. Did she have a healthy baby in Alaska? Did she and her man make it into ever wedded bliss? Did they buy a house and settle in for the hard and long wrought road of life, together?
Did she ever heal from her childhood? Or, did the demons haunt her til the end?
Overall Story – Why Such Hype?
But, why such the hype this book received? The story itself is really not that good.
In fact, there has not been a single classic I’ve read before or after starting my uThM Program that I haven’t set back down afterward a little disappointed.
Why do people think so much of these trite and often boring narratives? Is it a product of the times in which they are written? I sit here, if even subconsciously, comparing these old tomes with full knowledge of super block buster movies on big screens and creative and inspiring stories from great modern storytellers abound.
Maybe I do these classics a disservice. I cannot be sure.
In the end, it was a rather interesting read. Maybe I’m hardened and desensitized by the modern culture that has fully embraced insanity for the sake of all things pleasurable. After all, it is the new god of this age, no?
I would recommend this book if only to be exposed to the underbelly of the past. They, too, were just as perverted as modern man. They just didn’t have the propensity to flaunt it nearly as much.
Until my next review…..
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Excerpt from In the Meadow:
A second later, the engine roared to life, and Dawn glanced back, one last time, at the trailer she’d grown up in.
The empty yard.
The trail she’d blazed through the blackberries.
That gaunt looking trailer.
Everything she saw now looked so dirty and run down, almost a shambles.
It was like a dream.
Paul circled wide, then threw the truck in reverse and backed up. As he braked and put it back into drive, Dawn could see Harold’s place a few slips down.
Paul gave the truck some gas.
As they went by, she could see Harold standing outside, near his front door, motionless, watching them.
She didn’t mention the earlier conversation to Paul.
Why would she?
He was just a creepy ass guy, and one of the handful of things she didn’t have to deal with anymore.
They drove out the front gate of the trailer park, down the side street to the corner, Paul stopping for a moment as he waited on the traffic to clear.
He took her hand and smiled at her, then pulled out onto the highway, heading west.
They drove past the Ray’s Grocery Store, past the gas station, where Bart was out front, talking excitedly to the Desmond boy.
Paul kissed her hand and she smiled, laying her head back against the headrest.
There was nothing else standing in her way now.
As Dawn began to relax, she watched as her old life quickly dissipate into vapor in their wake.
For the first time in her life, she was leaving Oakridge. She was moving to an entirely different state, a new home, with the man of her dreams.
She’d never even been out of Oregon before.
“Now or never,” Paul said, as they drove past the trailhead sign, on the right.
Dawn tightened her grip on his hand.
She’d finally gotten her wish.
She was leaving Oakridge.
Buy my book In the Meadow to find out what Dawn will do as her perfect fairytale life begins to unravel. Are the girls calling out from the banks of the Skagit River trying to help her? Do they want to hurt her? What secrets will she find?
But, trust me when I say, this is going to be a roller coaster of a ride. People are dying all around her, and you have no idea what evil lurks in the meadow! Get started in this thriller story today and find out why they’re warning her…calling out to her….trying to tell her…to RUN!