Monday, May 05, 2008

To Thine Own Self Be True...

My name is Becky. And I don't like Charles Dickens. There, I've said it. I wish I felt better. I don't know what it is--stupidity or optimism--that makes me keep picking up Dickens' novels. Don't get me wrong, I love A Christmas Carol. I've read it a handful of times through the years. But so far it's proved the only exception to the rule. Great Expectations? Read not once but twice. Once in high school. Once in college. Hated both times. Forgotten both times. The first time, I think was so traumatic that I blocked the entire book from my memory. When I read it in college, it was with new eyes, fresh eyes. But it proved that I hadn't yet "matured" where Dickens was concerned. (I'm starting to think I will never quite reach that place.) My memories of Great Expectations are dulled to barely recognizable and that's fine with me.

Still, I had great hopes that 2008 would be THE year I'd finally "get it" where Dickens was concerned. I put David Copperfield on my list. And A Tale of Two Cities is not far behind. But unfortunately before I tried either of those...I picked up Oliver Twist. I'm 132 pages into it so far, and I'm hating it. It's not that it's "difficult" to comprehend. There isn't that much of a language barrier. I'm just not liking the characters or the story. It's dark and gloomy and depressing and hopeless. Maybe it gets better, maybe it doesn't. Wishbone certainly made this book look fun. (Then again that doggie made every book look fun.) But right now it would take a miracle for me to press onwards and upwards and actually finish this one.

I'm not giving up completely, I might try later in the year to read David Copperfield or A Tale of Two Cities. I might try to read both, you never can tell with bees. But part of me thinks that I'm just not ever going to get Dickens.

Anybody else want to make a confession? Step right on up and spill all. Who do you just not get???

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


mariel 9:53 PM  

I'm the same with Dickens, though I haven't tried much in the 10 years since leaving school! I really want to like him though! I have a copy of David Copperfield at home, which I am reliably informed is the most accessible of his books. I'll give it a go at some point during my attack on TBR mountain!

chrisa511 10:05 PM  

Edith Wharton is one author that I just do not get! I've tried and I've tried with 3 of her books...The Age of Innocence I've tried reading 3 times in fact because everyone says it's so great, but I just can't stand it! I can't get more than 50 pages into it. But I do love the Dickens that I've read which is Great Expectations, A Christmas Carol, and A Tale of Two Cities which is one of my all time favorite hopefully you'll like that one if you try it. I think it's an amazing book.

Anonymous,  10:18 PM  

How about this - I've never even READ Dickens. Not one word.
Feel better now?

Josette 12:58 AM  

I don't know why but I don't really get along with Jane Austen's style of writing. I find her books boring though the plot's exciting. Irony, huh?

And good luck with reading Dickens!

Debi 5:58 AM  

Well, I must confess the only Dickens I've ever read is A Christmas Carol. Which I enjoyed. But obviously not enough to try anything else he's written. I think my husband's prejudiced me against him. He swears that Great Expectations has to be among the top 3 most boring books ever written.

Unknown 8:31 AM  

I love Dickens!

But my confession is that I do not like Jane Austen. I've read Emma, P&P, S&S and Northanger Abbey and each one just gets worse and worse for me. I have come to accept the fact that I just do not get along with Jane.

Unknown 9:42 AM  

Charles Dickens. John Steinbeck. George Orwell. (In short, everyone my husband likes. Good thing I didn't marry him for his taste in books...)

zetor 10:03 AM  

Made myself read 'Great Expectations' once, was determined to finish it before I started a Bronte that I was desperate to begin.Found it tough. I really don't think I could read another Dickens though.

Becky 10:04 AM  

Chris, I haven't read much Wharton--just short stories. But "Roman Fever" is one of my favorite favorite short stories. I think you'd be able to access those much easier. :) I do have a copy of Age of Innocence, but I've never even read one sentence from it.
Thanks for the recommendation of A Tale of Two Cities. People keep telling me that that book is oh-so-incredible, and I want to believe them. But part of me is scared that I'll find it just as unappealing as the others. Though I hope not!

Debi, I just had to laugh! Great Expectations is so very boring :)

Nicola, we may just balance one another out. I won't feel guilty now.

I'm with you Melissa.

Anonymous,  10:10 AM  

LOL @ "My name is Becky. And I don't like Charles Dickens. There, I've said it. I wish I felt better."

I feel this way about classics. I think it stems from early childhood trauma.

Shelley 12:32 PM  

I am a Dickens lover. For me it's more about his writing than the plot or characters. There's just something ironic, or subtly sarcastic, and sometimes laugh-out-loud funny that I love about it. I don't know quite how to explain it, I just know I like it. David Copperfield is one of my very favorites.
My confession--My name is Shelley, and I don't like William Faulkner.

Clare - The Super Mommy Club 3:04 AM  

I'm not a big fan of Dickens either - at aged 11 we were tasked with reading Hard Times for English class... ugh it was sooo dull! Put me off for life!

At the same time we read a Midsummer's Nights Dream - and I found that so magical in comparison - looks like I'm a fan of Shakespeare at the expense of Dickens!

Jeane 10:06 AM  

You are not the only one! I cannot manage to read Dickens either. And he's one of my father's favorite authors.

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