“I love the layout of this book. I love how Joyce pieces together, quotes, discussions, exerpts, and personal thought to sculpt a character's life. As 'Portrait' progresses, I feel like I get nearer and nearer to the voice of Stephen Dedalus, culminating in the final chapter which consists of Stephen's own journal. We experience the journey of Stephen finding his own artistic voice and he leaves the reader with a feeling that he is on the cusp. He is just about to blossom into greatness when he sails away from Ireland forever.
Most of my enjoyment of this novel comes with my own relation to Stephen and my own connection to the trials of the artist. Stephen has classic struggles with women, religion, longing, art, identity, and family that are easy to connect with. Many passages arouse strong feelings of nostalgia for Stephen's past and the past of the reader as well. It's not a fun book. Most of it deals with the pains of feeling misunderstood and imprisoned within societal confines. But there are moments of inspiration, moments of clarity and joy that make Stephen's journey, and the dedication of the reader worth it.”