Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Put 200 candles on your birthday cake

Happy 200th Birthday Charles Dickens!!!!

Any man who combats male pattern baldness with side puffs like those and who wears a suit with what appears to be velvet lapels is aces in my book.

Oh, and also, he's ones of the best writers ever.  I, like you, did not always think so.  I read Great Expectations in the 9th grade and hated it, mostly because I could not get Miss Havisham and her ratty wedding feast out of my mind (although I was in my high school production of Oliver! in the 9th grade as well and that was plenty of fun - because I didn't have to read it. Plus, there was singing and dancing.) So when I got into the 10th grade and had to read A Tale of Two Cities I thought, nope, I will not be fooled again and I skipped it.

And that was the one high school shame that I took with me.  I read every single book I was assigned - The Scarlett Letter, A Farewell to Arms, Hamlet, even Moby Dick - except not A Tale of Two Cities.  I felt worse about that then I did about failing Geometry (fact:  I do not feel bad at all about failing Geometry).  But I refused to be guilted into reading any more of his books.  And I managed to make it through college as an English major without having to read any Dickens.  Moby Dick again, yes.  Hamlet, three more times.  But no Dickens.

But the shame was still there and then it came highly recommended by several trusted people and I must have been in a weakened state because a few years ago I read A Tale of Two Cities and fell in love.  Dickens is now my literary boyfriend. He's clever and funny and sensitive to the plight of the downtrodden and has a keen eye for the ridiculous, just like you want a boyfriend to be.

I know you hate him.  Nearly everyone I know who had to read him in high school hates him.  But I think you'll like him now.  So I'm just going to throw this out there - I think you should read some Dickens this year.  If only to honor that glorious beard of his.


Alicia said...

He is a wonderful man, for all the reasons you listed and more. He is so funny and witty and clever, I feel ridiculously inadequate as a writer when I read something by him. His plots and characters and amazing and I wish I could come up with names the way he did.

And Miss Haversham is totally nuts.

Rach said...

I read Great Expectations last year for the first time. Before that, the only Dickens I'd read was A Christmas Carol in 7th grade. I have seen movie versions of Nicholas Nickleby, Bleak House (LOVE!), and Oliver Twist, but have never read any of those books. I am extremely sleep-deprived, but would like to take up your challenge. Which Dickens book would you recommend to start with (besides Great Expectations)? And seriously, you made it through the entire 4 years of being an English major without Dickens? They really need to reevaluate the curriculum.

Heidi said...

That is hilarious, I have NEVER hated a book and I HATED A Tale of Two Cities and didn't read it in HS, the only book I read cliff notes for... I just could NOT do it! I still don't think I am as brave as you...I just CANT!

Bronwyn James said...

I don't know how it happened, but I didn't read a single Dickens book in school. Nothing was assigned. I went to the world's dinkiest, most culturally lacking high school (graduating class of 24 persons), but somehow that doesn't seem like an excuse. Hence, I have loved Dickens from the first time I met him. And I ADORE A Tale of Two Cities. Read it for the first time last year. I think you already knew all of this.