I wanted to like this book and was excited about reading it; I was attracted by the lack of a traditional narrative and the book's reputation and Joyce's reputation. I enjoyed the early descriptions of Stephen's family, the descriptions of his school days especially when he had a fever, the questioning of his faith in particular the vivid description of hell (though this was perhaps a few pages too long), and the way Stephen finally overcomes the pressures of country, family and Catholicism. Some descriptive passages were memorable and powerful, for example the play, and the evening where Stephen Dedalus ends up on the beach.
I think the book is probably of greatest interest to scholars and academics and those interested in the history of literature (and in particular the modernist phase). I'd liken it to experimental music whilst it makes an important statement it doesn't necessarily make for a good listen, or in this case a good read. The lengthy university conversations towards the end of the book are particularly tedious. I'm unsure what Joyce was trying to say, and wonder about the point of the book. I don't feel I gained very much by reading it, and would not recommend it. Perfectly fine, but vastly overrated by many.