Brand : Charles Dickens

The Adventures of Oliver Twist (Ca. 1900)

Michael smith |

A tale of two cities

What a book! after reading this, i've come to appreciate charles dickens as so much more than 'that guy who wrote the christmas carol.' one thing i love is his ability to create a perfect storyline. seriously, everything in this book fits together in the end like a perfect, completed puzzle. components that were thought to be gratuitous at first will come back in major ways at later points in the book. maybe it's just me, but i adore authors who blatantly show that they know exactly where they're going with every sentence of the story. the ending packs a serious punch, too. the characters in this book are exceptional, as well. my personal favorite was madame defarge. it's probably me and my general love for 'the bad guy' in stories, but i loved every scene she was in. i also like the fact the dickens gave her a reason for hating the aristocracy so much, as compared to her husband. the wood-sawyer/roadmender was interesting, too, if only for entertainment value. but of course, i'm sure anyone going around screaming "my little guilltine! off with her head! off his his head! hahahaha!' for no apparent reason except to please the majority might interest anybody. this book was also a strong commentary regarding the revolution. it was interesting to see the ironic way in which dickens compares the aristocracy to the angry revolutionaries. the revolutionaries are mad for the aristocracy hurting and killing the innocent. then, they turn right around and start killing plenty of innocent people for the sake of watching their heads roll. i understand this book isn't for everyone. the plot is complex, there are plenty of characters to keep track of, and it takes a long time to get exciting. but, trust me, if you stick with it, it will pay off in the end.

Harsha. |

Lessons to remember

It's hard to add to what the others have said of this work already. it's loved by many, yawned at a few. without reservations, i would say that i belong to the former category. this novel is simply superb, with amazing use of language and plot lines. to express how i loved it, i've got to say that i had read the children's edition and knew how the story would turn out. but, i had a feeling that my life would be incomplete if i didn't read the full story and it proved to be true. dicken's play with words and flow of narration was enough to keep me excited it's interesting to study the conversations and descriptions within this book, all of which are a product of a bygone era of literature, where writing didn't become popular simply due to it's plot, but due to the way the story was expressed admitely, i was lost at some of the parts, where the descriptions ran deep. the start of the novel was particularly horrible. i feel this is a shame, because if it had been easier to get by, much more people would have sticked around to read it to the end. but, at the end of the day, it doesn't take away anything from the story spoiler: several people have stated that sydney carton's sacrifice at the end was unbelievable, for he could have simply gone back home and started a new life with lucie manette. my answer to that is - has our society really become so selfish? - do people in this modern era only think of bettering their own ends rather than contributing to other people's happiness? in retrospect, this novel is still relevant today, for it's glimpses into the past and teaches us lessons on life which we are fast forgetting.

Aniko carmean |

I rarely fall in love, but i'm in love with great expectations.

The last time i read great expectations, i was fifteen years old and thought it was the most boring, meandering, pointless story. i was too impatient and too young to grasp the humor, tragedy, warning, and redemption of pip's tale. those faults i found in great expectations were actually faults in me, the reader; it is with some humble gratification that i read lines of pip admitting that the shortcomings he found in others were really projections springing from his own young (and selfish) perspective. in some sense, great expectations reads like a soap opera. each day, i recounted for my husband what had befallen pip in my readings, and we would be as scandalized or delighted as if we were watching a daytime drama. "no she didn't!" "oh, he's making a mistake!" just as with a soap opera, there are far too many coincidences and overlaps to make the story fully believable, but that takes nothing from the pleasure of reading, especially when dickens manages to infuse so much wry humor into the recounting. the story, of course, isn't really funny. dickens shows us pip, as a little boy, terrorized by an escaped convict. that pip is also an orphan and beaten by the sister who is "bringing him up by hand," is made only slightly less horrifying by the distance implied by the past-tense narrative. pip isn't allowed to follow his uncle's kind and humble example, but is manipulated by a little girl who is raised to be a man-eating monster. in a desperate effort to shed his "coarse" ways, pip accepts a bequeath of wealth that is frightening in its anonymity. pip lets the money turn him into a jerk, and he spends years dancing as a marionette to a jilted woman and her pet man-eater. when pip learns the true nature of his benefactor, we finally see pip make decisions based on what is right rather than on his attraction to a woman who was using him as an emotional pincushion. great expectations is a violent tale, and only those characters who remain humble and kind are allowed a lasting happiness. i rarely love a book. i devour and enjoy and lust for books, but rarely do i fall in love. i am in love with great expectations. go now, get a copy of great expectations. may it be highlighted and annotated by a tortured high school student, a child as yet unaware that life will shatter most of our "poor dreams." read, and be thankful that, like pip, you have lived long enough to outgrow your own selfish youth. ps i read the 1986 unabridged bantam classics edition, which is apparently meatier than this one. however, i wanted my review of the story to be available, so... here it is! if you get a chance, i recommend getting the uncut version.