Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Why Every Lolita Should Read "Lolita"

I'm pretty sure every follower of lolita fashion is familiar with the book we so often get likened to. Plenty of us yell and scream about how the conventional definition of the word is completely off-base, and we can tell people we aren't sexually-provocative young girls until our throats bleed, the only way we can truly understand the difference between ourselves and the characters in the book is to, you know, actually read it. That's what I was thinking the first time I picked up the book.I first read Lolita when I originally got into this fashion, to arm myself against what I imagined would be an onslaught of pedophiles as soon as I uttered its name. I went to my local library. I read the first page. I was hooked, and the addiction would last a lifetime.

It isn't even so much that it's a good story. For me, that first time, it didn't even have a story. I was so entranced by the beauty of Nabokov's language, his flowery descriptions and elegant prose, that my first time reading the book I couldn't have told you what it was about. I registered nothing but the words- beautiful words I had never heard of or seen before, in English, Latin, and French.

But then, the second time I read it, I picked up on the plot: the beautiful, heartbreaking, incredibly disturbing plot. You may have heard that Lolita
is a troubling book, not just in the sense of being a mentally-taxing read, but also in that you find yourself rooting for the bad guy-- a bad guy who is so far from most civilized morals that, before reading, you think he's the type of character you could never feel any sympathy for. Of course I won't go into details or give anything away, but anyone who has experience with incest, sexual trauma, rape, or even kidnapping, please be warned that this book could be highly triggering. However, if you're a bibliophile, this piece is practically required reading. It was through Lolitathat I learned to think critically of point of view, that I learned that the narrator is not always trustworthy, that I learned to think outside of the box which was instilled in me during my middle school English classes. When I'm a literature teacher, I'll probably assign this book for these reasons if nothing else.

But I digress. The point is, there's more to this book than racy thematic devices. This piece is an excellent read for anyone interested in vintage fashion (Oh, if I had Dolly's wardrobe!), psychology, literature, or even just people who like long books full of fancy words and beautiful prose which borders on erotica. If nothing else, read this book to arm yourself against the fight our name has destined us for; I can almost guarantee you'll enjoy it.

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