Book: A Tale of Two Cites by Charles Dickens
For: The Classics Club and Classics Challenge
From: free ebook
The first time I read this book I was in 9th grade. Much of it went right over my head, but through class discussions and a TV series that came out right about that very time I ended up loving it, even with all the confusing parts. Recently, I've been very anxious to read it again to see how it seems to me as a now old grown up person.
Here's what I discovered:
-- this book that I thought was confusing was actually quite simple. Some people in French are very upset over their treatment by the nobility and so one day they rebel and storm the Bastille prison. After a few years, anybody with any connection at all to this nobility has their head on a chopping block, literally In the meantime, Lucie (who earlier discovers her father she thought was dead has been released from the a fore mentioned Bastille) falls in love with Charles, who sadly has a connection to the French nobility, though he has renounced them and makes a happy life in England. But one day, he decides to go back to France to help a friend. Bad bad choice!
-- the character that I fell in love with the first time WAS as awesome as I remembered, although he didn't appear as often in the story as I remembered or would have liked. Why can't we get to know Sydney Carton a little better? His background? His story? It seems to me all we know is that he is a drunk, lonely dude, but smart as anything and helps his lawyer friend all night long, but gets no recognition. Why? I want to know more. Oh, yes, and strange thing, he looks a lot like Charles. And he loves Lucie, but of course, Lucie loves Charles.
-- I was surprised at the amount of sarcasm and witticisms the author threw into the story. I think that sometimes he was trying to be funny, but I felt like the book and its serious story really didn't lend itself to that, so it was just weird to me. This, of course, was something I didn't catch even a little bit as a 15 year old! I also noticed the literary devices (such as personification) that he uses much more this go around. And no wonder it was confusing to a 15 year old! He's appears to be talking about one thing, when he's really talking about another. This happens over and over again.
-- the end hit me just as hard now as then, maybe harder. Have you read this book? Do you know the ending? I'm guessing pretty much everyone does, but maybe there's a few who don't know it, so I will leave things spoil free here (even though it may be easily guessed too!) but I'd love to discuss in comments your feelings on this ending. The first time around of course I knew nothing so it blew me away. This time I felt the tension building up and dreaded every moment I got closer! Then, it was actually a little anit climatic from what I remembered, but still. There were parts that hit me much harder this time around and I got weepy, yes I did!
Bottom line: Oh, I so do love this book.
The plot is relatively fast-moving, and almost free from sub-plots and extraneous characters: it’s not as dense and wordy as a lot of Dickens’ works, and thus is an exciting and thought-provoking read. From Ela's Book Blog
Reading the book this time round the character of Sydney Carton is much clearer in my mind, with several vivid images of his slovenly appearance and drunken behaviour. From BooksPlease
Ultimately, what finally did bring me in to the novel was the human interest: the characterization. Once I understood how all the different characters fit together, I found myself engaged in the novel. From Rebecca Reads
It was an amazing piece of craftsmanship, and I was impressed with how all of the parts of the story worked together. From At Home With Books