About Me and My Blog and Amazon Store

My photo
Langley, BC, Canada
I love to read. I love books. I like to talk about books and recommend them. I read everything including cereal boxes and junk mail! I heard once that if you're not reading at least 3 books at a time you're not reading enough! This blog will keep track of the books I've read and whether or not I liked them. It will be a little bit of everything from Christian fiction to Science fiction and fantasy. Feel free to participate by suggesting books to review and giving your comments. Occasionally I am given free books by Publishers in exchange for a review. I am not told how to review them or compensated in any way for the review.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens

This novel follows the life of Nell and her grandfather. Nell has been orphaned and is living and taking care of her grandfather. They live and work in the old Curiosity Shop selling a collection of “old and curious things”. The grandfather begins to worry about how Nell will be taken care of when he dies and tries to ramp up his financial affairs by taking to gambling. Of course it turns out that he is a very bad gambler and must turn to loan sharks to finance his efforts. The evil Mr. Quilp is a dwarf whose outside ugliness is matched only by his ugly character and evil personality. He conspires to take away the shop and the grandfather becomes almost senile and very ill. In desperation, Nell convinces her grandfather to run away and to put as much distance between themselves and the dwarf as they can.

The rest of the novel focuses on their adventures and misadventures as they walk through England looking for a safe haven. At their darkest moments there always seems to be some kind person to rescue them but that rescue is usually brief and they must run away again.

I found this book to be a bit exhausting at times. Dickens says in his intro to the book that he deliberately drew characters who were grotesque and wild in order to enhance the innocence and sweetness of little Nell. But after a while I found myself wishing she could just catch a break and be left alone for a while! Of course I’m sure that was what Dickens intended.

The book starts out with a narrator but eventually Dickens decided that it was too awkward of a way to tell the story so he abandoned the narrator after a few chapters. I didn’t even notice the change until the end when I re-read the beginning and realized that the narrator had disappeared.

The ending is both satisfying and very sad. Satisfying in that most of the bad guys get their just reward, and sad, well, you can imagine what happens but if you want to know for sure you should read the book.

  Barnaby Rudge is the next book in line. But I think I’ll take a break and read the two biographies I have of Dickens first.