Rating: 4 out of 5
I blogged about Charles Dickens’ 200th birthday last week, and today I’m celebrating another milestone: my 100th post!!! I’ve been blogging since July, and even though in my mind my blog is teeny-tiny, I’m so proud that I’ve almost reached 4,500 views since I started! Yesterday I even broke a record with an all-time high of 69 views in a single day! Yes, still teeny-tiny, but you’ve got to start somewhere!
Before I unleash my review, I wanted to write a mini-update. My life’s been SUPER busy lately: I’m in the midst of writing my comprehensive paper that’s due in less than three weeks, my hours are steadily filling up at work, and I have my hands full promoting Fresno State’s CineCulture program and working as a student grader for the MCJ 1 class.
But I’ve also jam-packed my schedule with vacations!!! Not only am I going to Tokyo this summer, I’ll probably be going to Vegas THREE times this year–for a graduation trip with my classmates, for a girls’ getaway with a BFF, and for a bachelorette party. 2012 is going to be a kick-ass year, that’s for sure!!!
Ok, now on with business. If you haven’t read Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities…well, your high school may be crazy, because if “literary classic” was in the dictionary, it would be one of the first entries. I mean, the beloved children’s show “Wishbone” even had an episode on it!
The novel was published in 1859, and it narrates the events of the French Revolution through various characters in London and Paris. Teenager Lucie Manette is told that her father is not dead like she thought, but was imprisoned in the Bastille and now spends his days making shoes.
Two men are in love with Lucie, Charles Darnay and Sydney Carton. She marries Charles and raises their family in London. However, Charles had been accused of treason and when he returns to France to help a former servant, he is arrested and sentenced to death.
However, because Sydney is devoted to Lucie’s happiness–and because he looks eerily similar to Charles, Sydney courageously takes Charles’ place at the guillotine. His last words are, in my opinion, the absolute best in literature: “It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.”
As I’ve said before, Dickens can be pretty long-winded. There are many other characters in this novel, including the one you love-to-hate Madame Defarge, and most of the book runs low on energy. However, the last chapters explode off the page, making this read so worth the wait.
Not to mention, Dickens is not just an expert at realism, he also creates beautiful symbolism, such as the golden thread and the guillotine. Even the characters Carton and Darnay are allegedly two sides of Dickens’ psyche, given that they shared his own initials (Who said Wikipedia can’t teach you anything?).
I love this novel and recommend to the dedicated reader. Many high schoolers will hate Dickens’ verbosity, and if you also loathed this book when you were young, I encourage you to give it a second chance. Or at least watch the “Wishbone” version, because that show was simply awesome.
Favorite Quote: “It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.” (What can I say? I heart Sydney Carton!)