Lolita is the latest book in my New Years Resolution reading list.
Although Lolita has sort of taken on it's own life in our culture at this point, I realized as I read that I really knew very little about the actual story.
I was really reluctant to read Lolita because I was afraid it would somehow try to justify or gloss over the subject matter. I didn't want to read it if it was going to make Humbert Humbert's obsession with Lolita into something romantic or acceptable.
Before I started reading, I mentioned to the girls in my book club that I was going to be reading it. Several of them voiced the opinion that Nabokov must have been a pedophile - or else why would he choose this subject.
So I googled it. What I found is that Nabokov wanted to explore the way words and language could be used to manipulate a reader regarding the author's subject. Nabokov picked pedophilia because it was an odious subject - and then he set about manipulating us, the reader.
What I have to say about Lolita is that Humbert was a nasty, nasty man. The book is written in Humbert's voice and he is telling us about his relationship with Lolita. Because Humbert is telling the story, he naturally tries to sway us into believing his version of the affair. I found him to be charming, funny, intelligent and absolutely horrible.
If Nabokov doesn't quite succeed in preventing his reader from seeing Humbert for what he is (and I guess he doesn't really try) what he does succeed in doing, at least for me, is in making us forget that Lolita is a child. She is a very young, very innocent child and she is destroyed by Humbert Humbert.
I'm glad that I read this book. It messes with your mind - in a good way.