Dickens Champions: The Old Curiosity Shop review
11 June 2012 / 0 Comments
Our Dickens Champions, the Immaculate Conception Book Group, have been reading The Old Curiosity Shop, here's what they thought:
For our Dickens Champions, getting to the end of The Old Curiosity Shop was another achievement! The second of our novels under our belts, we gathered over cheese and wine to discuss and quickly agree, that reading this novel was a very different experience from reading Dombey and Son. Different in so many ways.
For some, The Old Curiosity Shop was an easier read, while for others it was a frustrating and at times aimless sequence of sketches. Also, for a few of us, The Old Curiosity Shop didn't 'grab' us a quickly as Dombey and indeed took as far as around chapter 39 to catch our full attention. Dickens' language as usual was brilliant and the character descriptions were both wonderfully amusing and dark and depressing. We laughed at the descriptions of Sally Brass and a few wept at the death of Nell Trent. Quilp was incredibly awful and scary and witnessing his actions was like watching a scary film through your fingers. Nell's grandfather, in the throes of his addiction was horrid.
Our group all had favourite passages which we read to each other. We felt that the structure of the novel was perhaps not as well considered as Dombey. It seemed more evident that The Old Curiosity Shop was being written as a series of episodes - we wondered whether Dickens himself knew what was coming next. This view is supported by the fact that there seemed to be a number of unconnected characters described in great detail and then we never met them again - they just popped in and then disappeared. And we all agreed - what was the point of Fred Trent?! Finally - why did Dickens choose this title when the Nell and her grandfather left the shop in Chapter 12, never to return.
Read what Dickens Champions Dickens Reading Group Manchester thought of The Old Curiosity Shop.
Watch out for our Dickens Champions' blog posts as they read their way through Dickens during 2012.
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Reading Dickens in your reading group or book club? Get in touch or post a comment to let us know how you're getting on.