Mini Reviews: The Adventures of Pinocchio, The Picture of Dorian Gray, & Heidi

Title: The Adventures of Pinocchio
Author: Carlo Collodi
Date Published: February 1883
Rating: 3/5 stars
Date read: April 22, 2020

The Adventures of Pinocchio follows a marionette named Pinocchio as he struggles to be good in order to turn into a real boy.

I say Pinocchio “struggles” to be good very loosely because, really, Pinocchio could put in more effort. Before reading Pinocchio I read a couple reviews on it and was shocked over how harsh some of them were, but now that I’ve read Pinocchio I understand, he really is a dumbass. There are multiple occasions throughout the novel where someone tries to deter Pinocchio from doing something stupid, but he never listens. It also doesn’t help that this novel lacks subtly when it comes to morals, I feel as though I’ve been bashed over the head repeatedly by the idea that “going to school and working hard leads to good things.” I didn’t hate this story, and ultimately enjoyed the direction in which the plot went, I just wish Pinocchio had been smarter about things, or perhaps had more conflict about whether or not to act out. On a more positive note, I appreciated reading a fairytale-like story that originated in Italy because it was a fun change in scenery from other children’s stories/fairytales. What made this reading experience more enjoyable for me was listening to the audiobook and reading the MinaLima edition, Simon Vance does a terrific job narrating it, and the MinaLima edition of it is stunning. 

Title: The Picture of Dorian Gray
Author: Oscar Wilde
Date Published: 1891
Rating: 3.75/5 stars
Date read: April 20, 2020 (reread)

The Picture of Dorian Gray is a novel revolving around the young and handsome Dorian Gray. An artist paints his portrait, and upon seeing it Dorian wishes it would age instead of he. Dorian’s wish comes true with horrific consequences. 

I’ve always loved and will always love the concept behind The Picture of Dorian Gray, a picture that ages instead of its subject, I just think that’s so brilliant. In terms of execution, Wilde can get quite long winded at times, and Henry’s attitude towards woman was appalling, but otherwise I enjoyed this story. I love Wilde’s writing style and truly think he has a way with words. As for the characters, they’re the type you’ll love to hate. I especially enjoyed Dorian’s gradual change of character and how he got worse as the novel progressed. Additionally, I think this book has one of the most perfect endings ever. I do think that my next read through isn’t going to be from the audiobook though, I didn’t enjoy that nearly as much as physically reading it. 

Title: Heidi
Author: Johanna Spyri
Date Published: 1880
Rating: 3.75/5
Date read: April 28, 2020 (reread)

Heidi is the story of a young orphan girl named Heidi who goes to live with her grandfather in the Swiss Alps. She charms everyone she meets, but eventually moves to the city to get a proper education, missing the Alps the entire time she is gone. 

Heidi, the girl, is a bit too perfect for my tastes, and I didn’t think she had enough charm to warrant all the adoration she received throughout the novel. Still, I did enjoy the antics she got herself into, and I loved the backdrop of the Alps. The background was well described and fleshed out and this little story is worth reading just for that.Unfortunately the novel got a bit too heavy-handed with its religious messages for my personal tastes in the second half, it was just a bit jarring given it wasn’t as present an element in the first half and had it been more balanced out it probably would have bothered me a bit less. While Heidi is a cute and charming story, I do think there are better children classics out there.

If you’ve read any of these books or plan to read them, I’d love to hear your thoughts! Happy reading! 💗