Caitlín (Ink Mage)'s Reviews > Our Mutual Friend

Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens
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Mar 24, 08

bookshelves: penned-before-1900
Recommended for: Anyone with a little bit of patience
Read in March, 2008

This is the second Dickens book I've read after A Tale of Two Cities, and I was familiar with the story from watching the BBC miniseries. Maybe it was because of watching the movie adaptation (where some parts were cut or sped along) that I found the book very...scattered. There are so many plot lines and characters that it could almost have been a volume of collected short stories that slightly overlap. Some of the characters were not my favorites to read about (Wegg and Venus, and especially Mr. Fledgeby) and those bits dragged, while most of the rest of it went surprisingly quickly for 820 pages.
But even if one hated the story, you've got to love Dickens' observations and descriptions of people, such as in Chapter 2, "The Man from Somewhere":

"Mr and Mrs Veneering were bran-new people in a bran-new house
in a bran-new quarter of London. Everything about the Veneerings was spick and span new. All their furniture was new, all their friends were new, all their servants were new, their plate was new, their carriage was new, their harness was new, their horses were new, their pictures were new, they themselves were new, they were as newly married... in the Veneering establishment, from the hall-chairs with the new coat of arms, to the grand pianoforte with the new action, and upstairs again to the new fire-escape, all things were in a state of high varnish and polish. And what was observable in the furniture, was observable in the Veneerings--the surface smelt a little too much of the workshop and was a trifle sticky."
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