The Pickwick Papers

I remember reading this novel when I was quite young; in fact I was still in elementary school. One of my great eccentricities growing up is the fact that I read books that were considered much too difficult for a kid my age. My reading level baffled teachers growing up (don’t get me wrong, I don’t profess to be anything near a genius, where I excel in literature and vocabulary, I make up for by being a perfect idiot at math).

But I digress. I finished this book on January 18, 2010 and I think it affected me just as much as it did the first time I read it, perhaps even more so in some points. Now I understand something in a different light, after having lived in the world and experienced heartbreak… the entire Bardell vs. Pickwick case strikes me as a tragically comedic piece. Evidence of Dickens’ genius is his ability to make a potentially serious scene like a breach of promise case a rather humorous glimpse into human nature. What I had never noticed before was the fact that it all sprung from a misunderstanding between an average, lonely woman and the somewhat na├»ve Pickwick. How easily we women can bestow our affections on men when we think they’re giving us even the slightest attention, and how bitter is the embarrassment and anger that follows these mistakes! At any rate, Mr. Pickwick in true Pickwickian form learns from this entire ordeal and emerges a wiser [if not slightly jaded] man.

Dickens’ signature specialties: strong characters, outlandish circumstances and happy endings abound in this novel. Read it.

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