Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Our Mutual Friend

Title: Our Mutual Friend
Author: Charles Dickens
Genre: Fiction, Classic
Pages: 884
Published: 1865
Date Finished: 27 Feb 2009
My Rating: 4 Stars
Challenges: Victorian, Chunkster, Decades, RYOB, 100+

Simply not my favorite novel by Charles Dickens. In fact, this is the first Dickens novel I've encountered that I did not just get wrapped up in and totally love. I guess it was bound to happen.
There were way too many plots and sub plots and characters for me to even try to summarize this book so I am not even going to try.
What I generally love about a Dickens novel are the characters. Nobody does character development like Dickens and the whole plethora of interesting and strange characters were all there, but they just seemed to be lacking something this time around, like a cohesive plot. The most interesting characters were the creepy ones (Charley Hexam, Bradley Headstone and Eugene Wrayburn.) But there were many that I could not find myself caring about and sighed every time I came to a chapter featuring them (the Veneerings, Twemlow and that lot.) And the rest, eh, just so-so. Sometimes interesting and made the story feel like it was actually going somewhere and other times just made the story feel bogged down.
This was the most tedious and at times confusing Dickens novel I've read but it was still Dickens and therefore in the end, looking back over the novel as a whole, well worth the time and effort. Definitely the darkest Dickens novel I've read.
Just don't start with this novel if you are new to reading Dickens. Start with something like Great Expectations, Nicholas Nickleby or The Pickwick Papers.


debilyn said...

I'm starting my Dickens experience with Bleak House. I just watched the entire mini-series on Netflix and fell in love with it...

so far, I'm loving the book!

Alyce said...

That was pretty much how I felt about A Tale of Two Cities, but then Dickens' works in general are not my favorite.

Merrianne said...

i love Charles Dickens... but i agree with you...
this was not the most intersting book.

mama-face said...

I too love Dickens, but this book not so much.
I also found David Copperfield tedious.

Still love his writing though. Good thoughts from you!

Trish said...

I loved this book, but I suspect that's because I had to write a paper over it (I always get attached to books I have to write about). Bradley Headstone, what a character huh? Him and Eugene really made this book entertaining for me. The only one of your suggested Dickens books that I've read is Great Expectations. I'd like to read Oliver Twist one of these days (since it isn't quite as long!). :)

Karen Beth said...

Really enjoyed this review and the Maugham one, too. I loved OMF but completely understand your frustration with the seemingly pointless characters. There were so many characters that I ended up having to make a list and keep referring to it throughout each chapter. My favorite Dickens novel is Dombey and Son, which hardly anyone reads compared to his major novels, but has the most endearing characters! If you love the characters, try Dombey.