We all know how it feels when the spring starts to settle in. I recall it feeling then similar then to how it feels now. I would walk out to the bus stop with the sun still traveling over that short horizon, a soft breeze blowing through my hair, sweaters being banished to the closets for the next 6 months. My pictures, which were already pretty risqué, were getting even more so. Ruben constantly wanted more pictures, more outfits, more settings, more props, more experimentation; and I was constantly encouraging his requests, following through with almost every detail. This often caused me to lose sleep, which one would think would cause my grades to slip but inadvertently made them rise. I didn’t want there to be any question from my parents about why my grades were slipping (not that they really would’ve asked but I was nevertheless cautious) or why I was falling asleep in class. I tried extra hard to do everything perfectly.
Every chance I got, I was buying more outfits for Ruben. New stockings, skirts, gloves, even hair dye. I was willing to do almost anything to keep him perfectly entertained until I was able to visit him again and finally have him fully and completely. Sometimes I would even send him pictures without having been requested to do so. Usually these pictures were taken in front of the big mirror. It wasn’t huge, just relatively large; because it wasn’t exactly nailed to anything, I would sometimes drag it to my room or the bathroom from my mother’s bathroom. She never once questioned what was going on behind closed doors. Typically, she would assume I was texting or Facebooking when I took my phone with me when I went to take baths. Granted, I carried it everywhere with me for fear that someone might pick it up and see what was going on within the confines of my relatively inexpensive flip phone. Of course, I had a lock on the camera, as well as a completely separate lock on the phone itself. It was pretty darn safe; not once did anyone suspect the possibility of me taking dirty pictures for anyone, much less Ruben.
But this isn’t about how risky I began to get, how trusting; this is about reading “Lolita” for the first time. I remember going to the school library and asking the librarian for it. He gave me a strange look, told me he could order it from another high school for me, and then proceeded to “inform” me of the contents of the book. He said it was about rape, incest, prostitution, and various other horrid things one would never expect to read about in a book. Of course, I told him that I didn’t know that incest and prostitution were included, but he pointed out that the book was about a girl whose father rapes her and prostitutes her to other men. There were various reasons I didn’t believe this.
One of the reasons I didn’t believe what the librarian was telling me had a great deal to do with an excerpt I had read online, the excerpt which I have linked here for you to read as well:
The content of it simply did not give me the impression that this book was to be narrated by a man who was talking about his daughter or a girl he would be prostituting out to other men. Another reason I didn’t believe this was the simple fact that Ruben had compared me to the character, which was probably inappropriate to begin with, but would’ve been worse if this girl was the man’s daughter and/or he was whoring her out. Ruben had described it to me as “a book about a young girl who seduces an older man.”
One final reason I didn’t believe what the librarian had told me about the book was that I had looked it up several times online before asking for it. “Lolita” had been dubbed “the only convincing love story of this or any generation.” Critics wouldn’t call a book “the only convincing love story of its or any generation” if it was about a man raping and whoring out his daughter.
So, as somewhat a summary for those of you who have or have not read the book, it’s basically about a 40 year old man who falls obsessively in love with a 12 year old girl. Now, for those of you who haven’t read the book, I’m sure you’re probably thinking that it’s pretty fucked up for a book like that to be considered a “convincing love story” above all others. I urge any of the readers of this blog to read that book. It tells a very disturbing yet beautiful story of what some will call love, but most probably will not. It’s extremely well written, a fact that absolutely no one can deny.
Humbert Humbert is the main character in this story. In the beginning of the book, as you’ll read in the excerpt I linked, Humbert falls in love with a girl he meets at the beach when he is 13 years old. The few beginning chapters sound suspiciously like they were based off of Edgar Allen Poe’s “Annabel Lee” poem. The setting is near the ocean, they’re children who fall in love deeply and passionately, the young girl’s name is Annabel Leigh, and she dies shortly after their summer together. After all, Nabokov literally uses the term “princedom by the sea”. Anyway, after this short, yet uneventful young love affair, Humbert becomes absolutely obsessed with young girls he calls “nymphets”. Despite this, he manages to keep his hands off until final meeting young Delores, “Lolita” Haze who he claims looks exactly like his former childhood love.
He meets Lolita (who goes by many names: Dolly, Lola, Lo, etc.) when moving to America to stay with an uncle whose home burns to the ground before he arrives. Humbert is forced to board at the Haze house, which he almost considers not renting a room in until he sees little Lolita lying in the garden reading a book. He instantly falls in love with her and forever obsesses over every short second they spend together.
I’m just going to cut into my own summary lest I find myself rambling to say that, by some sheer form of crazy luck for Humbert, Lolita’s mother dies and he is able to claim guardianship over her by pretending to be her father. He rapes her every day for two years. The first time they ever have sex though, it seems almost playful, and he claims that it was she who seduced him. Long story short, they’re together for 2 years until she runs off with another man around the same age as Humbert. This man tries to force her into a porno with several other people and kicks her out when she refuses to do this and Humbert finally finds her at age 17, living with her husband and pregnant.
Though I may have just ruined the ending for those of you who planned on reading the book, I want you to know that quite a bit of the events in this book will become extremely relevant to the story you are currently reading now…