Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A Tale of Two Cities - Book Review


Author – Charles Dickens

A review of A Tale of Two Cities

I always wanted to get a taste of what Charles Dickens wrote and I thought for awhile the first book of his I would read would be A Christmas Carole.  That turned out to not be the case as I opted to go for A Tale of Two Cities.  I decided upon it since I knew nothing of the book itself so my first experience in a Dickens novel would be something to remember.

I’ve never read anything, as far as a novel, dating back to the 1850s thus far and my early frustrations of reading the book hampered me.  It took me some time to get used to an older style of writing than I thought it would.  I’ve read stories from the 1890s and followed along well but this book took me about 100 pages worth to get into a comfort zone.  I’d say it’s necessary to have a stronger mindset before you begin this book.  I mentally coasted into it thinking I’d pick up on it quickly as I do most books no matter the time era.  It’s different for all people, of course, but I thought I’d mention it for those debating as I did about reading this book for the first time.

What I enjoyed about the book was the dialogue.  It flowed as well as any story I’ve read and keeps you wondering what the characters plan to do after so much strife they face.  The love shared by them is what you can really connect to as you read, even though separated by 150 years.  The hatred of other characters is also moving as society classes’ battle for stability in France.  Through the dialogue you may find yourself surprised of the terrible things people of this time found entertaining. 
   
There isn’t much back story for many of the characters and the story itself revolves around a dreary time period.  Now that doesn’t mean it’s uninteresting but areas in the book tend to detail and explain these harsh times to the point you could find yourself hoping you get back to the story.  I wasn’t accustomed to such details and struggled throughout the book at times.  I’m not interested in being told paragraph block by paragraph block about the horrible state of Paris and France in general.  I can pick up a history book for that.  I would prefer it be brought out through conversation between characters as you stay within a flow of the main story.  During those times you can more easily develop characters through what they say as well.  That’s what I didn’t like as much but hey that’s just me.

In the end I’d probably read this book again but in the distant future no question.  It requires more patience to read than what I’ve read so far but if you stick with it you’ll find you are rewarded with a satisfying ending.  I hope this helped and that I didn’t spoil it for anyone unfamiliar with it.