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Carpe Librum

Bookish conversation with author Samantha Wilcoxson.


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Historical Novel Society

Martin Chuzzlewit - Charles Dickens, Patricia Ingham The fault is my own that I did not enjoy this novel more. Every time I read a Dickens novel I am disappointed in myself. If I were intelligent enough, surely I would be as infatuated with his verbose storytelling as so many others. I do enjoy the language he employs, though I could suffice with quite a bit less of it. The book has a meaningful moral in which both good and bad characters eventually are served what they are due. Glimpses of humor can be found, especially in the chapters that take young Martin and Mark to America. Still, I was relieved when it was over.

I listened to this as an audiobook and feel certain that it would have been better read the 'old fashioned' way. If I had it in front of me, I would be able to let my eyes skim over the text looking for points of substance and spending less time on superfluous descriptions and tangents. When listening to it, no choice exists but to wait for the narrator to painfully trudge their way through.

I did enjoy many of the characters and the expert way they were developed, though I was much of the way through the book before I decided which Martin Chuzzlewit (younger or older) was the title character. I still may be wrong. Who could not love Tom and Mark, appreciate the changes and growth that take place in young Martin, or cheer to witness the fall of Mr. Pecksniff. On the other hand, if I heard one more adjective singing the praises of "little Ruth," I was prepared to vomit. As you can see, the names alone are a also point of humor.

If you are a Charles Dickens fan, you will most likely love this book as much as any of his other novels. I remember adoring a young reader version of Great Expectations as a child. Later in life, I read the original edition and my great expectations were as dashed as the characters'. Whatever it says about me, maybe I should stick with the abridged versions of Dickens' classics.