2020 Book Review: The Picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde

From the reference of Dorian Grey in books, movies, and television show it’s hard to meet someone these days who doesn’t know about the character, but not many have read the actual story. I have, thankfully.

It is a dark tale, in my opinion. With the main character, Dorian, a beautiful, indulgent, and vain young man making a deal to remain young and beautiful forever he sells his soul. His reputation is that he’s known for ruining others. Dorian does have a friend named Henry to whom he’s attracted to for his lifestyle of living indulgently and to the fullest. It is his friend’s comment about youthfulness being fleeting that really sets up how Dorian’s story moves forward.

Henry’s words on the fleeting nature of youthfulness are a foreshadowing and a warning. Dorian, as the infamous story goes, makes his dark dealings. At first, there seems to be hope for the main character as he sees the portrait’s dark and twisted nature as an opportunity to be good, but over time he becomes obsessed with every choice he makes, how it’s changing the reflection of his soul in paint, and finds himself being drawn more and more towards evil.

I don’t want to spoil the actual story too much for those that haven’t read it. I wanted to read this originally out of curiosity. I had heard of title, knew a brief idea of the story, and of the main character, but wanted to know more. I dug in, found a copy, and read it. My final thoughts are that the main character is damned and stuck. He is beautiful, yes, but that’s only skin deep. What is on the inside is what matters, but for Mr. Grey his insides, his soul, are grotesque and what seems to be unchanging as he’s drawn to evil.

He has damned himself in his pursuit of remaining at a certain state of his life. He may be living, forever, but he’s not truly alive in my opinion. He is consumed.

Beyond the story, I came across an article that said this very story is what condemned Oscar Wilde in court for homosexuality. I will now quote Wilde as brilliantly saying, ““There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Book are well written, or badly written. That is all.”


This review is a part of my 2020 yearlong self-challenge to read and review. I have reread some books for the purpose of reviewing them on my website whereas I have read others for the first time. Check out Book Reviews and Recommendations to find other book reviews, book recommendations, and more information about the books I’m reading, have read, or are sharing.

Have you read this book? What were your thoughts? Do you agree with me? Do you disagree? Let’s have a conversation about it.

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