Monday, December 4, 2017


It is Monday and I am still reading The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens.


Amazon says:

"The Old Curiosity Shop is the mesmerizing and heart-breaking tale about Little Nell, who is orphaned and living with her loving Granddad in the shop. In his attempts to secure Nell’s future, Granddad starts gambling. He keeps his nocturnal games a secret, but borrows heavily from the evil Daniel Quilp, a malicious, grotesquely deformed, hunchbacked dwarf moneylender. In the end, he gambles away what little money they have, and Quilp seizes the opportunity to take possession of the shop and evict Nell and her grandfather. Her grandfather suffers a breakdown that leaves him bereft of his wits, and Nell takes him away to the Midlands of England, to live as beggars. The book enjoyed enormous success when it was first published as a serial and has never been out of print since. It is one of the most familiar and well-loved works by Dickens and has been adapted into numerous films, TV-series and plays."

Because this was originally published in installments, I find that Dickens jumps around covering all the main characters which means we go for many chapters without seeing Little Nell and her grandfather.  

Another criticism I have is that rather than seeing Quilp as a malicious villain, I find him farcical, unintentionally humorous.  To make matters worse I see Tyrion Lannister who is anything but malicious and grotesque.  So for me, Quilp is a failed villain.

Finally, I have very little sympathy for the grandfather.  He falls victim to Quilp because of his own weaknesses not because Quilp is so evil. 

If I were writing a final review I would cite evidence to support my issues but for now this is a cursory glance at the book.  I have slightly more that 25% of the book left to read.  I am sure Dickens is prolonging the drama to keep the serial readership up.  I will plug on.

This meme is hosted by Book Date



2 comments:

pussreboots said...

A lot of Dickens works have that problem for me as well. The only way I get through them is if I read them SLOWLY -- basically one installment at a time, taking a week off between so I forget the problems. I'm getting ready for the new year. Come see what I'm looking forward to and what I'm reading now.

Myra Garces Bacsal said...

Loved reading Dickens when I was in university a lifetime ago. I have to go back to reading him soonest.