It is a classic more for the form than anything else. Were it not the "first" "reinvention" of stream of consciousness writing, it would just be considered a poorly organized diary of a self-important writer.
I’ve tried to read Joyce’s “Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man” at least 2 or 3 times in the past 30 years and finally succeeded. It’s not a very welcoming book for contemporary readers, unless (like me) you suffered a Roman Catholic education. My Catholic grade school was more like the one depicted in the 2008 movie “Doubt” by John Patrick Shanley than an Irish boarding school like Clongowes, but I did experience Jesuits in college. The novel is about … more