Book review: Lolita

Banned in countries all around the world at some point in time, Lolita has been causing controversy since the very beginning. Many people have heard of this strange classic not only for it’s scandalous plot about a charmingly handsome middle aged man named Humbert Humbert that has a weird obsession with a girl, a twelve year old girl, but also for the beautiful writing that it contains.

Although it caused a lot of trouble, the book had a large amount of success. Pop culture has taken on a new meaning to the term Lolita, and it has ended up synonymous to a ‘promiscuous’ girl. Celebrities like Lady Gaga, Hayley Williams, and Lil Mama frequently use “Lolita fashion” and the new artist Lana Del Rey has a famous song called Lolita. Obviously, these celebrities aren’t promoting pedophilia, but they aren’t fully understanding the image they’re giving off either. Now what exactly are these celebrities trying to state when they portray an idealistic Lolita? In the story, she’s a “nymphet” with an obviously unusual relationship with her stepfather. These woman could be trying to say they’re promiscuous but it’s all around weird because in my mind, I see pedophilia more than I see promiscuity.

As I was reading the book, my first thought wasn’t a good one. I loved the writing, but it was just creepy and hard to take in. The obsession Humbert has towards his Lolita, or Dolores, is a whole new level of something I’ve never been experienced to. No one knows what it’s like in the mind of a “pedophile” and this book delves into that. I realized that you have to think about it differently to not be creeped out. If he was writing about a woman his own age, Lolita would be the love story of the century. And Vladimir Nabokov, the author, who was one of the best writers I’ve experienced, knew what kind of boundaries he was more than pushing, but he did it anyway and everyone is happy he did.

Lolita is a wonderfully written book and extremely inspiring due to it’s “outside of the box” thinking. If you’re looking for a classic with an edge, I highly recommend this book.

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Kelsee Bryant was a contributing photographer, writer, and videographer to RedEye from 2011-2012.