Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens

I have loved Dickens since I was taken to see the musical ‘Oliver’ when I was 12, and my Dad told me it was based on a book… Oliver Twist was my transition from Enid Blyton to adult literature, and Dickens has been a favourite ever since, though it is now many years since I have read him. I have two incomplete sets of Dickens, both sets published in the early 20th century and inherited from elderly relatives, so all books have very thin pages and very small print, which these days is a bit of a problem for me.

It turned out I had never read Our Mutual Friend, so when it came up in the most recent Classics Club spin, I plunged in. It was quite hard work with 779 pages of tiny print, so I read several other books in between, but what a joy it was. It reignited my passion for Dickens and his remarkable facility with words – his descriptions of characters are often hilarious, and though many of the characters are caricatures or stereotypes, they do relate very well with people we all know and meet in contemporary life. This book was written more than 150 years ago, so some of the social conditions represented seem quite unbelievable, but the themes are still very relevant. Money can’t buy happiness but can destroy it, family relationships can be extremely difficult, alcoholism is ruinous, etc.

I loved this book, and it has inspired me to add more Dickens to my reading list, despite the fact that I have so many more contemporary novels on my TBR. It is sad that so few younger people attempt these wonderful classics.

This was the 9th classic work read from my Classics Club list.

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