Love Lolita or loathe it, Weinman reminds us that its legacy is so deeply embedded in the culture that no one is neutral about this novel. Weinman shares her own shivering response as an adolescent to the opening lines. Later, in one of the startling, best responses to this Great American Novel, she recounts the experience of the enthralled, well-intentioned writer Mikita Brottman leading a book club at a maximum-security prison:
The prisoners in her book club were nowhere near so enchanted. An hour into the discussion, one of them looked up at Brottman and cried, “he’s just an old pedo!’ A second prisoner added: “It’s all bullshit, all his long, fancy words, I can see through it. It’s all a cover-up. I know what he wants to do with her.” A third prisoner drove home the point that Lolita “isn’t a love story. Get rid of all the fancy language, bring it down to the lower [sic] common denominator, and it’s a grown man molesting a little girl.