Cori's Reviews > Hard Times

Hard Times by Charles Dickens
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's review
Aug 06, 2007

really liked it
Recommended for: audio book lovers
Read in June, 2007

From my blog:

NOTE: I listened to the audio version.

For some reason, I could never get into Dickens. I was an English major, for goodness' sake. I tried David Copperfield. I tried the Pickwick Papers. I tried Oliver Twist. All meh, and I didn't finish any of them. I have, however, enjoyed many a film adaptation of his novels, including Bleak House (fan. tas. tic.) and Nicholas Nickleby, so I knew that it couldn't be that bad. Anyway, my friend Hillary has recommended Hard Times for a long time, so when I saw it at the library, I picked it up. I've decided that as far as Dickens goes, I need to have someone else read it for me. Someone to do the voices and read with the right emphasis. I guess I'm lazy when it comes to Dickens. And I'm okay with that.

And it was FRACKIN' AWESOME. (Can you really call Dickens FRACKIN' AWESOME? Don't you have to say he was "spot on, jolly good fellow" or something?) Anyway, Martin Jarvis was the reader and he was SO GOOD. So fantastic that I went out and requested more things read by him just so I could hear him talk some more. Apparently he's one of the audio book greats out there, if there is such a thing. Dickens was so alive when Jarvis read it. The characters, the settings, the lists and statistics, the ... everything, was amazing because of Jarvis. I'm pretty sure the book was good, but I think I would be raving had Jarvis read out of the phone book. *stops obsessing about Martin Jarvis's reading abilities*

The novel centers around the Gradgrind family and some of their friends (and not-so-friends). The children are raised adhering to facts while living in a society that worships the machines their town run on. Their father dismisses anything fanciful and imaginative. As the novel progresses, relationships are made and broken, and the characters come to the realization that there is much more to life than just the facts.
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Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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message 1: by Mike (new) - added it

Mike i agree, i am an english major and a museumemployee. I am working on a dickens day theme here and i have never been a fan of his style. the film adaptation are better

message 2: by Dan (new)

Dan Griliopoulos Martin Jarvis is the man. His 'Just William' is essential listening.

Vishy Nice review, Cori! I loved your infectious enthusiasm for Martin Jarvis' reading :) Have you seen the movie 'Hereafter'? In that movie the main character listens to Dickens audio books and those parts of the movie are wonderful (the overall movie is wonderful too).

message 4: by Jay (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jay Thanks, Cori. I'm listening to the same audio book version with Martin Jarvis narrating. Frackin' awesome, indeed, and that's a fact.

Sunil Thank you. People want to lynch me whenever I tell them I don't like Dickens. Now I know I'm not alone. I can 'intellectually' understand the power of his characterization but unless I lived in Victorian era I don't think I'll be able to understand him.

message 6: by Michael (new)

Michael Jones Do you have a link to that particular audiobook?

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