Originally Posted by Synamon
I'm about 40% in and yes the author is painting a detailed picture of Humbert's particular perversion, but I honestly don't get the reaction people have to this book. Hannibal ate body parts of his victims and no one freaks out when people read The Silence of the Lambs. We happily read extremely violent books, books from a serial killer's perspective, biographies of monsters like Hitler or Stalin, etc. and don't blink an eye, but if the topic is sex everyone gets squeamish. Damn those Puritans.
I think the difference is in the fact that Hannibal's victims were either dead when we hear about them or were going to be. A dead person can't feel pain or suffer mental anguish after they are killed, but a victim of someone like Humbert can suffer even after it's all over. That and we've all had the desire at one point or another to hurt someone else for what they did (or we think they did) to us. It's easy to understand rage but not so easy to understand what makes someone like Humbert tick.