Debbie's Reviews > The Old Curiosity Shop

The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens
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Mar 30, 12

Read from March 17 to 29, 2012

This is a wonderfully enjoyable book. The classic Dickens formula is put to work: good vs. evil, hardship, the sad reality of real life, the journey, the secret, the bittersweet happy ending. All this equation performed amongst a myriad of extremely colorful characters and scenes so pictographic in description and prose that the landscape seems to pop up out of the book and play out in animation before the eyes. Dickens has such a way with his characters. They are always to the extreme. When they are good, they are syrup sticky good. When they are evil, they are the devil himself. When they are ridiculous, which quite a few are, you find Dickens is the real original classical king of comedy.
In 10th grade “The Old Curiosity Shop” was on the list of classical reading for the second semester at my school. Everyone said, when you get to Mr.___’s class you will love reading, “The Old Curiosity Shop”. Imagine my surprise when it was my turn with the famed Mr.____ and he decided we should read Tolstoy. Through the years I sort of forgot about its existence until I saw PBS Masterpiece theater was airing a movie version. I thought, great I will DVR it, read the book and compare. I read the book with excitement and enjoyment always with the movie as the reward in the end on my mind. I figuratively became the director and cast my favorite British actors as the infamous characters. I imagined the action and the comedy. In my mind’s eye, I saw the competed film and it was wonderful. Comical! I couldn’t understand why it had taken me so long to read this book. Upon finishing the book, I rushed to sit and watch this PBS Masterpiece. The host introduced it. The introduction proceeded. A scene came up, people moved and spoke. I stopped the player and rewound it to make sure I was watching the correct film? It was, to my extreme dismay, absolutely nothing like the Dickens masterpiece. I think it actually was a mockery and disservice. If I was Dickens I’d roll over. If I was an actor and given that script, I’d thrust it back into the hands previously given this horrible farce of an object and say in my best British accent, “No, Sir! I most certainly will not do any such thing!” Grandfather was not a feeble addict. Nell wasn’t an angel lead by the love of a delirious old fool. Swiveller (my favorite character) looked like a Jack Sparrow reject and he was not nearly as drunk or ridiculous as written to be. Sally was thoughtful? What? Brass was not as sniveling. Kit was weak and missing his big honest heart. Mrs. Quilp was not pathetic and Quilp himself was not as evil, small or demonish. Also, a whole gang of other interesting and vital characters and adventures were lost, I assume to the cutting room floor. How dare they? How very dare they make a mockery and sad display of such a masterpiece of great literature. I thought the purpose of film was to convey stories in the book into a visual representation from the words, through the mind’s eye, into a real touchable world.
In this case, Dickens needs no modern day distortion. He has conveyed without mistake, without any of our new fangled devices, with only his pen a picture and experience single handedly.
I don’t regret the movie, only because it motivated me to read this wonderful book that I had quite forgotten about. This is a must read for a lifetime. I enjoyed every moment. Do give yourself time to stop and revel in the experience of it. Five Stars!
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Quotes Debbie Liked

Charles Dickens
“Have I yet to learn that the hardest and best-borne trials are those which are never chronicled in any earthly record, and are suffered every day!”
Charles Dickens, The Old Curiosity Shop


Reading Progress

03/17/2012 page 29
5.05% "Mr Swiveller- an 1800's hot mess! No one makes characters like Dickens. Lol"
03/18/2012 page 58
10.1% "Dickens characters are always really so funny. Enjoying this."
03/20/2012 page 85
14.81% "I never get so much reading done as when I'm in Dr.office/hospital waiting room. Want to make reading progress go to a waiting room."
03/22/2012 page 155
27.0% "I have not enjoyed a book so much in so long! Dickens the master of stories. Some paragraphs are so poeticly beautiful, you just get lost."
03/24/2012 page 235
40.94% "Wow, even in Dickens days additions so strong that you steal from your loved ones and ruin everyone's lives. I guess things never change, only time does."
03/25/2012 page 374
65.16% ""It was but imagination, yet imagination had all the terrors of reality;nay, it was worse, for the reality would have come and gone, and there an end, but in imagination it was always coming and never went away.""
03/28/2012 page 374
65.16% "Trying to finish up this book. Enjoying it but when I linger too long I start to annoy myself like..alright already Deborah!! Lol"
03/28/2012 page 483
84.15% "There was a $.50 sale at the book store... Mama got carried away.. I've got to finish this book!!! lol"
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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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Debbie So much truth in this quote.


message 2: by Arnulfo (new)

Arnulfo Great review. I think that I will finish it.


Anne  (Booklady) Molinarolo Great review of a great book! I read it long ago...I may have to re-read it. I just reviewed a bunch of books that I read while I snuggled in bed with a frightful Spring cold.
I read Exodus, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Franny and Zooey and The Red Pony! Amazing what you can do in 5 days snuggled under warm covers. Now I'm off to lie down with Wuthering Heights!


Debbie Anne (Booklady) wrote: "Great review of a great book! I read it long ago...I may have to re-read it. I just reviewed a bunch of books that I read while I snuggled in bed with a frightful Spring cold.
I read [book:Exodus|8..."


Thanks so much Anne!!! ;o)
I absolutely LOVE Wuthering Heights. It's one of my all time favorites.
Yes, you did get so much read. I don't with for a cold but I do myself long for some serious reading time in my schedule. lol


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