Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov is considered to be one of the greatest literary accomplishment of our time. No matter the fact that the author is Russian the book was first written and published in English and was later translated by Nabokov himself in Russian. Due to its literal qualities, it became a modern classic extremely fast. It was adapted twice into movies: once in 1962 and once in 1997 and many times into plays.
And with that, I have stated the major facts about the book. From here on you will see my personal thoughts on the story seen in the book and in the movie from 1997.
In my opinion, it is a very controversial piece of work…
First of all, I was appalled by the main character Humbert Humbert and his love for little girls. At the same time, I was impressed by his ability to control his urges and to manage, at least up until a certain point, to lead a decent life. By the way, this can be seen only in the book and not in the movie, which in my opinion depletes Humbert of a lot of his humanity in the adaptation of 1997.
Nevertheless, as the story in the book progresses, I began to feel less inclined to judge Humbert Humbert very harshly. His actions towards Lolita as inappropriate and inexcusable as they were, seemed a little less severe, given Lolita’s own behaviour. Again, this is something that is more visible in the book, than in the movie adaptation. In the novel, one can read about Humbert inward fight and the exact moment and reasons which finally brake his so far firm decision not to actually give in to the temptation, which the young girl poses.
The end of the story, both in the book and in the movie, is presented very tragically. Again the movie lacs a lot of plot present in the book, but still, the mere ending was quite accurate. Still, I felt conflicted by the actions of Humbert Humbert. Still, he made me like him a little more and be appalled by him a little less, but I am not going to tell you why.
All in all the novel is genius. So genius in fact that it made me doubt the writer. Is it possible for someone to write such a story? And not only the story itself, but the mind of Humbert Humbert! How does one imagine all those thoughts in his head? How does one that does not feel the same way towards small girls manage to see them trough the pervert’s eyes? I am not sure that I really want answers to those questions. I don’t think that I would like the answers, whatever they may be.
I can give you only one advice concerning Lolita – read the book, and then if you are still willing to, watch the movie. The book has much more to offer and the movie, as good as it is, is lacking in so many places.