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Showing 1-10 of 16 reviews(2 star). Show all reviews
on March 19, 2002
It took me a week to get through the first sixty pages of Lolita. That should have been my first clue it was going to be a long and treacherous read; despite the fact the novel is only 300 pages. There were moments in the novel when I swore Nabokov had a brilliant and intellectual point to make. Yet as quick as the turn of a page he prooved me terribley wrong. The character of Humbert Humbert was at times remorseful and knowing of the what he was doing to Dolores Haze; therefore I couldn't pity him and his insanity. Dolores Haze seemed to me to be a coniving woman trapped in a thirteen year olds body. So, I really didn't feel too appalled by the situation she allowed herself to be a part of with Humbert. In ways I think I may read this again-dictionary in one hand of course (as to try and decode Nabokov's word choice)-if only to try and make sense of why someone would write a novel like this. The characters, had absolutley no impact. I didn't feel the slightest shock for the subject matter. All I could think was "wow I actually managed to read the whole novel."
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on March 23, 2000
In reading these customer reviews, I was not surprised to hear about the genius of the prose. I do think the book was poetic, and some of the descriptions were quite beautiful and memorable. However, I'll admit I was bored by some of the travel scenes.
I was surprised to find that people found it "hysterical". I suppose I thought it was witty in a few instances, but not even "funny".
I enjoyed the idea of the "unreliable narrator". And looking through the world through HH's eyes cerainly displayed how unreliable his views were. As a detective, I enjoyed picking apart his madness.
But what pushed me to write this review was my amazement that anyone could call this a love story! Certainly the relationship was horribly one-sided, Lo had no love for HH. And I strongly believe he did not love Lo. The obvious being that he is a kidnapping pedophile, aroused by all nymphets. But beyond his glaring sickness, he didn't even KNOW Dolores (I don't think that any of us did). Near the end, he overhears Lo talking to a friend, making an intellecutal comment on death, and realizes he knows nothing of her. Other than her physical features and her movements, he has no interest in her. He hears her cry herself to sleep, and doesn't react! This is nothing like any definition of love that I know.
The book may be genius because it could make people believe he DOES love Dolores, but it did not strike me as such.
I would never want to re-read this book. I didn't feel sympathy for HH. Because of this, I struggled through a book in which I found no one I could care about (I never found Lolita to be fleshed-out enough as a character).
Yes, it was creepy. I've read creepy books that I've also found fascinating. This book was creepy and only mildly interesting.
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on July 15, 1999
A reader from USA Humbert made me puke I see that there are already 100+ reviews, all of them ecstatically enthusiastic, so I have decided to be the one person who writes the bad review. Truthfully, there is something to be said about the narrative--it is so convincing that Humbert becomes a completely believable human character whose personality gets under one's skin. It was nothing short of brilliant. And therein lies the problem. While the plot was engaging, to follow Humbert's thoughts and perversions was painfully, miserably overwhelming. I felt sick whenever I picked up the book again to read, and finally I gave up 2/3 into the story. The thing was that Humbert had become too real in my head, and since pretty much every sentence in the book follows Humbert's thoughts, one is reminded over and over again of Humbert's sick fantasies of child rape and wrongful sexual desires. Plainly speaking, he grossed me out. Therefore the book gets 2 stars: The stars to acknowledge the novel's excellent literary technique, the low rating because it is unreadable.
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on March 26, 2011
I've made it my mission to read a majority of the classic novels that are must-reads and Lolita being #4, I was pleased when I had to read it for a course. The beginning starts off interestingly enough but slowly gets dull. It picks up in the middle but dies back down and I felt like I was being forced to read it again. It really is a roller coaster ride and isn't consistent. Many people have said it's beautiful and love story of the ages but for me, I fell like it's only half and half. The way he describes Lo makes it seem like she is the love of his life but it's only one-sided. I think the buzz around this book is exaggerated and you can disagree with me but that's my opinion.
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on January 14, 1999
This book wasn't badly written--I just did not see what was so great about it. I had to read it for school and would not have finished except I had no choice. I simply did not see much of a plot, and what was there did not hold my attention at all. Humbert's character was slightly fascinating in that he was so twisted, but things like that just do not interest me. When I put the book down, I was left with a creepy, unresolved feeling (yikes--there are actually people like that out there!), not to mention being fully relieved that I was finished with that book forever!
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on December 24, 2014
One has to have an open mind to read this novel, obviously it's controversial, which isn't my issue. My issues are with the characters.
I find Dolores and Humbert to be the most aggravating characters I have ever come across. Humbert is a grown man and treats those, especially adult women like trash. (his inner thoughts are insulting and immature).
Dolores is a child, so I guess that's her excuse but I find her so obnoxious.

I really wanted to enjoy this book, but I was too disgusted by the two main characters.
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on November 9, 1998
Other than the controversial subject matter, I do not understand the hype surrounding the work and did not find this "novel" to be extraordinary. The story promised an interesting reading at the outset, but turned into a soporific mind-numbing experience shortly after Humbert and Lolita embark on their road trip.
I must vehemently protest the #2 slot Lolita occupies on the Modern Library's list.
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on July 30, 2000
Not too bad, but I think it's placee on he greatest of the english language list is a bit stretched. Nabokov has an excellent command of the language, which in itself makes the book worth reading. But the story itself didn't live up to the hype. I just didn't care what happened, and this came dangerously close to being one of those books one just never finishes because of a lack of caring.
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on April 6, 1998
Writing? This is the kind of language used by an obnoxious, self-loveing bore at a dinner party. Overwritten, overrated, the very definition of 'pretentious'.
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on November 13, 2003
Love affair with the English language my a~~, this is a dull, prolix novel. I will admit that Nabakov possessed a remarkable English vocabulary and exquisite command of English syntax. But, did he have to exercise this knowledge in every form?
Academics and social critics my debate the value of Lolita, point out its originality, laud the courage to produce it, love it or hate it for its content. And for those with the time and inclination, I'm sure it's a fantastic character study of a man caught between his moral conviction and his carnal desire, or whatever significance they may glean. But, the prose is just dry and often unclear. There are too many words and the paragraphs are far too long. The novel lacks a powerful climax (no pun intended). These stylistic issues drag the story down.
This same story shaped by any number of Nabokov's contemporaries could have been recounted more vividly, without loosing any of its inherent qualities, in far fewer pages.
In defense, a colleague of mine pointed out that Nabokov was a Russian immigrant and that his style of writing reflects conventions and structures found in many Russian novels. However, Lolita is not a work written in Russian for Russians. It is a novel written in English for American popular consumption. Shouldn't the style reflect this?
No matter how dramatic or significant the subject, a book must first be clear. As an amateur critic, maybe I'm missing some nuance of literary theory that justifies Nabokov's style. But, from what I have read about literature, clarity and simplicity are the hallmarks of the great works of twentieth century American writing. It seems to me that much of the insight, passion, conflict, paradox, and social commentary Nabokov attempts to illustrate in Lolita is lost in the words.
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