What do I want to say about Lolita? What is safe to say about this book? My first reaction to the book was shock and disgust, but I kept reading, simply because it’s Nabokov. As I continued reading, I couldn’t put the book down. The genius of this book and of Nabokov is that he is able to capture the mentality of a sick and disgusting man on the pages of this book. Much like and actor must take on the character in his role, I imagine that it must have taken some real work to write this book and not go insane. What many people do not understand about this book is that it is about obsession and psychological power.
Humbert is a troubled man. He is consumed with unexplainable feelings for this girl Anabelle, who he loved as a boy, and had his first sexual relationship with. Anabelle dies, and he is left with a feeling of depression and loss, that he carries throughout his life. He meets Dolores, or Lolita, and he feels she is his angel, the one being that seems to surpass all around her. These kinds of characters are common in all great literature. That one thing we strive to reach or perfect, but it always manages to slip through our fingers.
That is what Nabokov was doing here. It is not a love story at all. When you reach the end of the book, as the reader you should understand that Nabokov meant for this book to be like that, a tale of misfortune and tragedy. Love did not put Humbert in the situation he was in with Lolita, it was his obsession with her that did. He hurt her, and many others throughout the book. In the end, his obsession with her ruins both their lives, which is why I think Nabokov meant for this to be a tragedy. This was a wonderful book that lets you explore the thinking and mindset of a man that is clearly mentally disturbed.
Do I think this book is for everyone; No. That is a solid no. I think that only because I have spent years reading authors like Nabokov, Hemingway, Kerouac, Faulkner, and Woolf, that I am able to read this as a neutral reader, or unbiased to cultural directive.
I started Wide Sargasso Sea, by Jean Rhys, which I got at this wonderful little bookshop in Frankfort yesterday. I actually almost didn’t go, for fear of driving alone, but the need to see my best friend Sheila surpassed the fear of driving so far alone. I listened to some good music and ate a lot of junk food on the way, but I made it. We had breakfast at Cracker-barrel, talked about her book, and about life. She, Doug (her funny hubby), and I even got a free tarot reading from her gypsy daughter Devin. I am on love with her cats, Segar and Duchess. They are both fatties and so above it all, and I loved them instantly. It was a wonderful use of 8 hours in PTO. We were actually so engrossed in our time, that we forgot to take a picture together, I was upset about that. I did get a picture of Sheila by herself though. This will have to hold me over until I get to see her again in June, IN FLORIDA!!!
After I left Sheila, I went to this wonderful little bookshop in downtown Frankfort, Poor Richards Books. If you are ever that way, you should stop by, and definitely visit the upper room. I spent a solid hour up there alone, and could have stayed more, if time allowed. You are invited up to the attic by a neatly painted set of steps that directs you to go up there and buy some old books. There are instructions for turning on the lights to the huge room, as well as to be very careful with the books. I felt like I was walking into the library of the Never-ending Story. It was simply fantastic and magical and I was so in love with that moment.
As adults with families and responsibilities, I think it is so important to take time, days, hours, minutes to ourselves; to do the things that make us happy. We may not be able to pursue our dreams, or the things that we want to pursue or deem important, but we can take time to be happy for a bit. I am trying to do this more. There are so many things that I want for myself, and dream about; things that I will never have, or at least not until I am older and my children are grown. This can be very depressing to think about, but until that day comes, I will continue to do little things like this, to remind myself that I can still be happy in this time of my life. Do what makes you happy.