Monday, 20 July 2009
The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens
Charles Dickens wrote some very good stories in his time, but I have to admit that this particular work isn't going to make it onto my favourites list. The Pickwick Papers is basically a collection of short stories involving the same characters, Gentlemen all belonging to The Pickwick Club, which tell the tale of their humorous travels and trials around England.
Mr. Pickwick is a like-able fellow who starts up a club with his name and then starts off on adventures of his own with a couple of the club members. As the stories continue, characters come and go and come again, which can be slightly confusing with time. The stories themselves are amusing for the most part. Dickens is obviously taking the micky out of life in England at the time. The Law, social customs and courtship all feature heavily and are all made fun of in their turn. As I was reading (or listening as the case was), I couldn't help but think that they would have been hugely entertaining for people living in the day. However, I'm fairly certain there were many little hints a references I missed simply because I don't know enough about the era. Even though this obviously isn't Dickens' fault, it did detract from my enjoyment of the book.
This all makes it rather hard to rate The Pickwick Papers. I think for anyone who has a better grasp of history and the mid to late 19th century, this would be a great read. Alas, since I don't, it only rates a 3 out of 5 for me personally. Worth a read, but it's not something I'll read again any time soon. I prefer the novels with more cohesive, direct stories.