Review: Charles Dickens’ Five Novels

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Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆
Date read: January 1 to 31, 2014
Read count: 1

This leather-bound Dickens collection is a must-have for any Dickens fan and any fan of Victorian England. It looks great on the shelf, especially next to those other leather-bound classics, if you have any. The stories included are: A Christmas Carol, A Tale of Two Cities, David Copperfield, Great Expectations, and Oliver Twist.

Every time I reread Dickens, the experience is not so much like reading, but being lectured by a stuffy English prof. on the inner workings of Victorian England. Of course the extensive details and social commentary are necessary. I just don’t think there’s room for them in a novel. Essays? Yes. Letters? Sure. Biographies? Absolutely. But a novel? Maybe in the introduction section. Maybe.

It was while reading Great Expectations in high school when I realized I didn’t like Dickens’ particular style of writing; there were too many words per every point made. While I liked his stories overall (still do like them), I didn’t (still don’t) like his way of telling a story. It’s too blunt, too on the nose. It makes his motives too obvious to the reader. I prefer subtly in storytelling and stories that aren’t so adamant in “teaching society a lesson.” But I gotta hand it to Dickens though. No classic lit. author could tell a story of street smarts, excess wealth, hardship, and destitution quite like he did.

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