charles dickens

Book Review: The Mystery of Edwin Drood by Charles Dickens

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The Mystery of Edwin DroodThe Mystery of Edwin Drood by Charles Dickens
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

From time to time, I like to revisit the classics. In 1870, Charles Dickens died from a stroke in the middle of writing The Mystery of Edwin Drood. The book was never finished, and there weren’t a lot of details in any notes or conversations for anyone to fully know his intentions for the ending. Readers were left with an open-ended story and have to decide for themselves. Years ago, the book was converted to a script and performed on Broadway. I meant to buy tickets but got distracted and never attended the show. A friend of mine, Medhat, had it on his list to read, so we decided to share a buddy read again this month.

The classics can be absolutely amazing and utterly dull. I was a literature major and have read hundreds of them, so I am allowed to admit it. LOL In truth, I will always find something I like about a book… and that was my approach to this novel. I adored Great Expectations and A Christmas Carol, which gave me a good feeling about this one since I also adore mysteries. Unfortunately, it didn’t register very high and left me slightly bewildered. Not because of the lack of a conclusion, but due to the style it was written in.

At many points, I saw where Agatha Christie might have gotten some inspiration. I also liked how the story unraveled various plots with scenes that, as isolated events, were quite strong. Unfortunately, too many characters were introduced in odd ways with different names (not because it was a draft work but because people had nicknames or alternative ways of referring to people they didn’t actually know in person). One of the other areas that bugged me a bit was the difference in Dickens’ style in this book. I slipped back into 19th century dialog and prose, but there was an excess of description at times when it wasn’t necessary. It slowed the story to the point I had to put it down and come back just to give myself a break.

That said, it was written well in terms of language and vision. I could tell where Dickens was going with the story, and maybe if I hadn’t read over 500 other mystery books in the last decade, I might have been more intrigued. I recognize why he was a great writer, and I applaud many of the sections that clearly showed his prowess (the hidden words when Jasper was trying to find out who killed Drood, the appearance in the last available chapter of a character we didn’t expect to see, the way in which a man expressed his love for a woman he was attracted to).

Considering all these things, I end up at an average 3 stars on this one. I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone who wants to start a Dickens’ novel, and I wouldn’t rate it high for cleverness in a mystery (accounting for its lack of an ending). I would suggest that it could help writers understand when and how to deliver emotion and subtlety in a scene. I’d also highlight the strong ability the author has to transport you to a physical setting. I’m looking forward to Medhat’s review this week!

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About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new book series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations but with a twist. There are four books: Academic CurveballBroken Heart Attack, Flower Power Trip, and Mistaken Identity Crisis. I read, write, and blog A LOT on this site where you can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

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Review: Oliver Twist

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Oliver TwistMy rating: 3 of 5 stars

Review
I only read Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens once, back in 6th grade when I was about 12 years old. It was one of the classic books I’d received as a Christmas present, and I loved Dickens’ other children’s stories, so I had to read this one. It’s much more harsh tho, and might be a little difficult for a 12 year old to take in without having a better picture of the world. It’s one of those books nagging at the back of my mind… “Please re-read me. I bet you’ll like me a whole lot more.” And it’s probably true… so perhaps I can find some time to squeeze this one in for the year. I while read a lot of older books, I should throw in a “classic” or “pre-19th century” book every ten books or so… just to keep me ed-u-ma-ca-ted.

Several key things about the book to help you decide if you want to read it:

1. The catch phrase: can I have so more, may I have another please…

2. Commentary about life being poor

3. Written in 1838… almost 200 years old!

4. A happy ending

Not a spoiler: I’m just saying… we all die sometime, right?

5. Adventure for a young adult / kid

6. Truly understanding what an orphan meant — they have scissors for hands, right?



About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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Review: A Christmas Carol

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A Christmas CarolMy rating: 4 of 5 stars to Charles DickensA Christmas Carol, a story almost everyone is likely familiar with as early on as childhood. And we’ve all seen some form of this in a TV show, movie or another book, given how familiar the three ghosts of Christmas have become.



Why This Book


I honestly don’t recall how I stumbled upon this book, perhaps by watching one of the movie versions as the first foray. Sacrilegious, I know. But once you see it on a TV screen, the story compels you to want to read it. And when it’s the great Charles Dickens, how can you say no, right? I was 17 when I read the book… the summer before college started. And I often wonder if I missed out by not reading it when I was younger… but then again, the movie had already formed images in my mind and set the expectations, so probably turned out OK.



Overview of Story


A quick summary, as I’m sure we’re all familiar. Jacob Marley and Ebenezer Scrooge run a business. Bob Cratchit works for them and several young kids. Marley dies. Scrooge is a penny pincher. He forces Cratchit to work too hard and the man is already so poor and loving to his family. One night, Scrooge is visited by Marley’s ghost, forewarning him to be a nicer person and to listen when “they” come. Scrooge laughs. “Who’s they?” He mocks him. And then it happens… three ghosts visit Scrooge and show him a Christmas from the past, a current Christmas and a future Christmas, all resulting from the way Scrooge and Marley ran their business — essentially, a way to show the old man what his behavior has caused all around him. A reflection pool of the inner workings deep in your mind you’ve refused to hear or see for far too long. And when Scrooge sees poor Timmy, Bob Cratchit’s son, and the maladies surrounding him, Scrooge realizes he, too, must re-learn his lessons.



Strength


In true Dickens style, the words are beautiful. The story reads itself, not the reader. And you find such broad strokes of characters and morals within these 100 pages. You learn from it. You open your mind and accept what’s already somewhere in your heart.



Open Items


None really… mostly when’s the best time to introduce this to children? Too young and you scare them. Too old and you miss out on helping them. It’s one of those books you should read together with your kids.



Final Thoughts


Read the book before you watch any movies. Then figure out how to help people in your life, just like Scrooge learns to. This book is all about lessons… and every reader can take away something different with their imagination and application to their own thoughts and actions.



About Me


For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures.

Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

View all my reviews

Review: Great Expectations

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Great Expectations
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

5 stars to Charles Dickens‘s Great Expectations. So many good choices in the world of Charles Dickens, but ultimately, even though I love me some ghosts of Scrooge, Great Expectations wins out.

Most of us probably were “forced” to read this book in junior high or high school. I am one of those people; however, I was an English major in college and read it again for one of my courses. It’s one of those books that gets better as you get older and stronger each time you read it. If you only read it once, or you barely recall the story, I implore you to give it another chance.

This is the story of America. This is the story within all of us. It challenges culture and race. It challenges rich and poor. It challenges men and women. It challenges children and adults. It challenges marriage and being single. It challenges everything.

There are multiple plots and stories within this book. The characters are classic icons. The themes are intrinsic and speak to everything that America is built on.

At first, I admit it could feel overdone. The plot is varied and complex at times, but within each story, the lessons you learn without even realizing it are the little surprises you encounter when you least expect it.

Who can’t imagine the wedding dress? Who hasn’t contemplated what it would be like to steal something (even a pencil or a photocopy at work)? Who hasn’t contemplated what love means?

You can’t escape the realism and the drama all wrapped up in this book.

It’s what helps you formulate so many ideas of life.

Go back and read it again if you haven’t read it in years and didn’t have an open mind. Eh, then watch the movie if you still have questions.

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