Lindz's Reviews > Charles Dickens: A Life

Charles Dickens by Claire Tomalin
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's review
Nov 10, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: 21st-century, big-fat-ones
Read from November 18 to 25, 2011

This is a solid meat and potato biography of the old man of letters, Mr Dickens. A really good over view.

Dickensian London is so meshed in our collective image of Victorian London, they are now one in the same. Dark cobbled alleyways holding any number of secrets and bodies. Smokey cramped neighbourhoods, greasy fingers dolling out slimy coin. Tiny pallor rooms with white capped women bent over needle work by the light of the fire. All grotesque, all chaotic and bloated.

Or is that just me, and I need to read more Dickens?

Dickens the man, also seemed bombastic, unpredictable, overly dramatic. Loving to surround himself with family/friends/admires (To Dickens they were all the same). He could be petty, and generous beyond measure. All the famous stories, as in , the blacking factory as a working child, Nelly Ternan, the train crash, the reading tours, as well as his more famous characters and novels are all touched on if fleetingly. At times I would have liked a more in depth perspective. Such as his relationship with money. Having to work as a child, earning it through writing, money, trying to get it, what happens when people don't have it, greed or generosity or the vulnerability of those who do not have money are constant themes that keep creeping into Dickens's novels.

I did enjoy this bio, and Tomlin did well, it was a tight 417 page book, there was no fat. Now I want to read more Dickens, and more Tomlin.

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Reading Progress

11/18/2011 page 32
6.0% "Loving the images Tomalin is building of a London under reconstruction in regency rule." 1 comment
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