Monday, July 2, 2012

The Old Curiosity Shop, Charles Dickens

Night is generally my time for walking. In the summer I often leave home early in the morning, and roam about fields and lanes all day, or even escape for days or weeks together, but saving in the country, I seldom go out until after dark, though, Heaven be thanked, I love its light and feel the cheerfulness it sheds upon the earth, as much as any creature living.

I enjoy Charles Dickens, and this book sounded quite interesting, along with A Tale of Two Cities and Bleak House (reviews coming soon.) The Dickens I'd read before were Oliver Twist, A Christmas Carol and Great Expectations. The Old Curiosity Shop tells of Nell Trent, a young girl living in an old curiosity shop who cares for her grandfather selflessly. But the loathsome dwarf Quilp, seizes the shop because they can't pay their debts to him, and they have to flee. The plot of this was so-so, and the writing was a bit overwritten, as Dickens tends to be. But what redeemed it was the characters: Nell is portrayed well. She's an innocent, sweet young girl, and all these horrible schemes are going on around her. Quilp, is a horrible, wicked man, and he's described perfectly. You can just imagine him. There's also a great cast of supporting characters, and a nice cover from Penguin Classics, as well as good ink illustrations.

There were, however, two disappointing things in it. One of them was that there is a female lawyer called Sally Brass in the book. She's independent and intelligent, and yet she is depicted as one of the worst characters of the lot, after Quilp. I mean, I suppose you have to expect that from that time period, but it was still off-putting. Another thing was the ending. It was just so depressing. Without giving too much away, I was just like really? And all that talk about Heaven and smiling angels just got on my nerves. We want them to be alive here, not in some hypothetical, probably not real place where can't see them. But up to that point, I would have given the book 5 stars, so it's just demoted to 4. You should still read, just be prepared.

Read The Old Curiosity Shop:
  • if you like Charles Dickens
  • if you are looking for an interesting classic
556 pages.
Very Good! I would recommend this book!

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