Darlene's Reviews > Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens by Claire Tomalin
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Nov 20, 2011

it was amazing

I actually had very mixed feelings about reading this biography of Charles Dickens once I actually had it in my hands. I fell in love with the writings of Charles Dickens back when I was a teenager. I love the Victorian England time period. I loved the characters Dickens created... even the odious ones. I admired his superb ability to use the english language to create characters and scenes that were absolutely unforgettable to me. I think the thing that drew me to his writing was my discovery that he had this huge sense of social consciousness. He could not only see the plight of the poor.... he had an incredible ability to empathize with them. He wrote about these characters with such compassion. I was afraid of what I would find out. I have to say though that what I found through this impeccably researched book was that Dickens was indeed all of the things I had hoped he would be.... but at the same time he was exactly the opposite of what I hoped he would be. I don't wish to just list facts... you can read those for yourself. What I discovered by reading this wonderful biography is that Charles Dickens was a complex man with many contradictions in his personality. He did indeed feel compassion for the poor and mistreated in society but he often seemed to be lacking in compassion when it came to people closest to him.. his family and friends. He not only was socially conscious... he actually worked very hard to help those who were unwanted. At the same time, he seemed to easily turn his back on family members if he didn't approve of their behavior.

This book was a wonderful look at the life of Charles Dickens... starting with the time period of his grandparents and ending with several years after his death. It was well researched (as the huge bibliography demonstrates) and always interesting. The only thing I didn't like about it was that it wasn't long enough. It left me wanting more.
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Reading Progress

November 20, 2011 – Started Reading
November 20, 2011 – Shelved
December 3, 2011 – Finished Reading

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