by Vladimir Nabokov | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 0141182539 Global Overview for this book
Registered by Apechild of York, North Yorkshire United Kingdom on 6/9/2007
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1 journaler for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by Apechild from York, North Yorkshire United Kingdom on Saturday, June 09, 2007
Bought this from the cut-price bookshop in Helmsley earlier this year.

Journal Entry 2 by Apechild from York, North Yorkshire United Kingdom on Sunday, October 04, 2009
Well, here's a bit of a controversial book. It's also the first book by a Russian writer that I've read (that I can think of). I really enjoyed it and I would like to read more of Nabokov's work. What actually first set me on to wanting to read this book was the memoir "Reading Lolita in Tehran". She had such a passion for her books in that, and it actually added a few books to my wishlist so to speak.

All I really knew about this before I started was that it's about an adult man taking advantage of a young girl. Lolita is known to everyone, I suppose, although I wonder how many people have actually read the book. It is amazingly written; really, really well, and I got quite addicted to the story so I ended up spending a lot of yesterday just reading it.

The characters aren't exactly the most likeable in the world! The narrator, and dirty old man, Humbert Humbert, is a Swiss man living in the States. He goes to lodge in the Haze household, where widow Charlotte Haze lives with her twelve-year-old daughter, Dolores (Lolita for short). And he is immediately lusting after the daughter - the nymphet, as he refers to young developing girls who take his fancy. Women do nothing for him; only young girls - the guy is a proper pervet with mental problems. And he ends up in the position of having complete control over Lolita. The mother, Charlotte, falls for Humbert with his French accent, and she ends up marrying him. On the day that she finally discovers his perversion, she is killed in a car accident and unable to save her daughter. The crazy thing is, before this happens, she is very cool with her daughter - I can't imagine Lolita feels overly loved - and resentful of her, as if she is only there to interfere with her life. She is probably jealous of her youth and fearful of the fact that she is now leaving that period of her life well behind her.

So with mother dead, Humbert heads off to the summer camp to pick up Lolita. At first he tells her that her mother is seriously ill in hospital. He then plans what turn out to be bungled attempts at drugging her so that he can then rape her without her knowing as he drags her across the states from motel to motel. And one of the sad things is that when Lolita finds out that her mother is dead, she realises she has no where else to go other than to follow Humbert and do what he says; and that she feels that this is preferable to becoming a ward of the state.

Lolita isn't the most likeable character either. She is a stroppy little bratt, which I suppose all kids go through a phase of; plus it's probably a cry for attention due to her mother. She flirts with Humbert when he moves into their house. And when the sleeping pills he gives her turn out to be not very strong, it ends up being her that comes physically on to him and instigates sex! It does smack of young teenager showing off and pretending to be mature and worldly-wise by telling Humbert about sex and how she has already done it. And how she later will do acts for him in return for pocket money... child prostitution. And whilst she isn't exactly likeable, you have got to feel sorry for her because she completely misses out on her childhood and that safe family environment that kids should have when growing up.

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