Free Kindle Book Review – The Picture of Dorian Gray

Free Kindle Book Review – The Picture of Dorian Gray

The Picture of Dorian Gray is a classic novel from the author and playwright Oscar Wilde. It is currently free (as of March 17th 2015 at 5:00 PM est) as a Kindle ebook on Amazon. This (currently) free Kindle book was written over 125 years ago the story of a young man obsessed with himself never felt more relevant to me than it does in the age of narcissism in which we presently live.

“There is no such thing as a moral or immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.” A famous quote from Wilde himself. Perhaps a narcissistic statement rather than an observation, Dorian Gray is a beautifully written book where the prose regularly takes the form of poetry. But what Wilde does masterfully is make his elevated lexicon and syntax remarkably colloquial; there is an informal and common tongue that is easily understood. Where readers might find older texts to be quite cumbersome to grasp, the story in Dorian Gray flows smoothly.

The Picture of Dorian Gray

However, what I found so compelling about this tale is the timeless relevance of the book’s theme. The story follows Dorian Gray, a young and handsome gentleman who trades his soul to remain young and beautiful, and his compatriot Lord Henry who never misses an opportunity to partake in the pleasures of life. In reading this book, I felt overwhelmed by the dichotomy of narcissism and hedonism. Where the schools of thought present in the book are so highly exaggerated, it’s easy to see how this story mirrors our present day society.

Wilde famously stated, “It is the spectator, and not life, that art really mirrors.” I have heard that after the Millennials, the next wave of up-and-comers will be called “Generation Me.” Social media is a great tool. But, more often than not it’s a means of self-indulgence. We post endless pictures of ourselves; the dreaded “selfie” phenomenon. Every thought that seems witty and insightful makes its way into the social stream so that everyone can share in our own newly discovered wisdom. We use resources at an alarming rate, thinking only of our short term satisfaction more often than the long term effects. For all those who love themselves perhaps a little too much (which I would argue is everyone), The Picture of Dorian Gray is a book you should read. As previously stated, you can download your copy of the eBook here.

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