Thursday, February 10, 2011

"It was the best of times,..... was the worst of times." We all know those famous words from Charles Dickens’ “A Tale of Two Cities” (image courtesy of Barnes & Noble). Well, I’m happy to report that I have finally read that book. I’m so glad I did. I never had to read it for school, but I wanted to read it on my journey to becoming a well-rounded person. While it was rather difficult to get though, I can see why it is so celebrated.

The book takes place during the French Revolution. As I was reading the parts of the book describing the Revolution, I was having a hard time understanding how it could be the “best of times.” It was so brutal and gruesome. There were riots and people’s heads were getting chopped off left and right. By the time I finished, I understood. France had to go through a revolt to get better. There was a lot of abuse going on with the nobility. The rich were very rich and the poor were very poor. The state of the country was not good. The people revolted so it could become the great country it is today. It gave me a better understanding of that time in history. It’s helped me understand better what’s going on in Egypt right now, the mentality and state of mind that drives people during a revolt.

During all of this chaos is a story. A story of a long-lost father, Dr. Manette, and his daughter, Lucie, and the circumstances that parted them and brought them back together. Dr. Manette is falsely imprisoned in the Bastille for 18 years. He is released and reunited with his daughter. On the trip back to London they meet Charles Darnay. He escapes charges of espionage with the help of Sydney Carton. Both Darnay and Carton vie for Lucie’s heart, but Darnay ends up winning. Darnay’s mysterious past pulls him back to France, where his life is in grave danger. Ultimately, the story comes full circle and all is revealed. There is an unexpected hero and a great sacrifice it made.

This was a tedious book to get through, with lots of obscure references about the Revolution that I had to keep flipping to the footnotes to try to understand. Once I got into the actual story of Dr. Manette, Lucie and Darnay I was hooked. What I really noticed in this book about Dickens’ writing is that really set the scene. He really wanted the reader to visualize the setting of the French Revolution.

The next book I would like to read of Dickens’ is “Great Expectations.” I hated the 1998 movie with Gwyneth Paltrow, but one sleepness night I came across the original 1946 movie and absolutely adored it. I decided that would have to go on my reading list and I have it on my bookshelf, but right now I’m reading some “fun” books on my new Kindle. I got a Kindle for Christmas and I love it. I was apprehensive about getting an e-reader since I love books so much and my husband and I love browsing at Barnes & Noble, but it’s really been great. Honestly, I don’t think our house could fit more books anyways! So far I’ve read “The Wedding Girl” by Madeleine Wickham and “Dune Road” by Jane Green. Right now I’m in the middle of “The Brightest Star in the Sky” by Marian Keyes. All of them are very light and enjoyable.

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