The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde I really wanted to like this book, but I felt that the characters were one-dimensional and parts of the narrative rambled on for way too long. Most people know the basic outlines of the story; a young man has his portrait painted and when he sees it, makes a wish that he could stay young and vital while the picture ages - essentially trading places with the painting. The wish comes true. Dorian Gray stays young and beautiful while he lives a life of cruelty and excess, while his image in the picture becomes older and more hideous looking. It's a great idea for a story. The execution, though, wasn't what it could have been. The characters were flat - Dorian is weak and easily influenced, and Harry is the kind of person that goads people into doing horrible things just because he can. I didn't really care that Dorian finally got his comeuppance when he destroyed the painting because I didn't care about him one way or the other from the beginning of the book. He bounced aimlessly from mishap to mishap, never developing. Harry continued to be annoying and self-righteous. Maybe I'm missing something, but I felt that the characters were just props, not the driving forces of the story. They never really came alive and I had trouble establishing any sort of connection with them. It made it really hard for me to maintain any interest in the story because I didn't feel anything for the characters.There were also long passages describing jewels, art and tapestries that Dorian collected throughout his life that could have been pared way down. I liked the detail in the passages at first, but they were so long and took up so many pages that I got really bored. If the author had spent half as much time on character development as he did on the descriptions of the fabrics Dorian collected, the book would have been much better.