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by Vladimir Nabokov
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Reviewed by: Stacy Putman

I bought this book about a year ago after the big contoversy about the movie starring Jeremy Irons. And then it sat on my shelf until about a month ago. I am only sorry that I waited so long to read it! Nabokov tells a very unsettling story of obsession and lost innocence, but he does it with such brilliance as a writer that it probably would not have mattered what the story was.

Humbert Humbert (he changed the name to protect himself!) has a 'thing' for pre-teen girls. Being a middle-aged man himself, he must hide his tastes from the judmental society in which he lives. Then he comes to America and rents a room from a woman who lives there with her daughter Dolores. Hence, a tragic love story unfolds with enough twists and turns to keep you reading. Humbert marries the mother so that he may have a better chance to touch and scandalize the daughter, whom he calls Lolita. One thing leads to another and Humbert is the sole caregiver for young Dolores and an affair ensues, or molestation, whichever you prefer. You know from the beginning that this does not end happily, but you don't know exactly how it will end until you get there.

Aside from the brilliant writing and the tragic love story, it is still a very upsetting subject. And Nabokov deliberately makes it disturbing for the reader. I don't know if I would have felt differently about this book if I had a daughter of my own, but my guess is yes. I would still recommend this book to anyone and the reason I did not give it a 10 is because, although I think it is a perfect novel, it is not one of my top ten favorites!

A note about the movie...HBO did show the movie, although none of the American theaters would carry it. The movies is a great adaptation except for a few important details. The movie did not portray Humbert's sick obsession with other young girls or his disenchantment with Dolores as she aged. So, if you only watch the movie you fail to see that his love for Lolita is not an isolated event and that he truly was a sick man. The movie was close, but the book is a must read.

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