June 8, 2016



Vladimir Nabokov

"You can always count on a murderer for a fancy prose style."

You've got that right, Humbert.

I have to admit that I was a little biased going into this book. After reading the description and multiple reviews, I really wanted to love it. In one respect, as a student of psychology, we often come across the topic of sex offenders and myths related to those men and women who focus on younger children. As an advocate for pretty much anyone with a mental health issue, I know that the way that these peoples' minds work is beyond anything that we may be able to understand. With that being said, having a book that induces sympathy for a predator in the reader was something that I was really looking forward to.

Along with my studies, I live in a very conservative town where people often post of such stories on social media and claim what they would do to the person that preyed on little boys or girls, and I often find myself wanting to say "you don't know this person" or "they clearly have a problem and need help", which is not always something I'm willing to admit. However, I felt that reading this book may allow me to recommend the read to others in order to explain the inner workings of a child molester's mind.

I know that this is not the case for every sex offender, and Humbert is not someone that I sympathized with. I appreciate delicate wording and prose to a certain extent, but this story was filled with a little too much where it got in the way of understanding what was going on in the story. Also, I felt that there were so many inserts of French (which I don't speak or understand at all) with no translation, so I was often confused whether what Humbert was saying was pertinent to my understanding of the plot and afterwards felt like it was not so much unnecessary, but it would have been helpful to have some sort of translation in an index of some sort.

For those of you that don't know, this story is about a man, Humbert (one of the many things he calls himself throughout the book) who is attracted to children or 'nymphets' that are strictly under the age of sixteen. He lodges with a family where a little girl, Dolores, lives with her widowed mother. Humbert eventually marries the mother in order to be closer to the daughter. After the mother dies (I won't reveal how because I felt that this helped me to like the book a little more), he goes on a trip around the country with Dolores, or Lolita as he calls her.

Overall, I understand what the author was trying to do and I would love to read a story in which I empathize with the predator and/or understand the girl more, but as much as I wanted to love this book, I merely thought it was just okay.

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