A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens

Okay, I get pretty overwhelmed when putting down my thoughts on books that have SO MUCH. In the past, I would just pour on the stars, add it to a favorite shelf and move on. However, I did this as a buddy read with Bookstooge, and feel it necessary to say something, even if it's just my thanks at picking a book that I enjoyed so thoroughly.

 

From his atmospheric writing to his intensely hued characters, Dickens drew me in with his trifecta of 1 part history, 1 part mystery and 1 part love story. Everything about his writing hit my sweet spots, he used pretty words in all the right places and intricately strung together each piece of his story - every character, speech, and set up seemed carefully crafted to allow the reader to come full circle.

 

I had all the feels. Madame DeFarge was terrifying, as was the manic crowd mentality of the French Revolution and though I understand his interpretation to be a bit exaggerated, it was very effective nonetheless. Lucie Manette was such a lovely picture of loyalty and devotion, and rather than being grating as it sounds when I type those attributes out, I found it sweet and a bit envying. Of course, Darnay was the consummate hero, Dr. Manette, the courageous soul recalled to life, and the many lesser characters who play important and entertaining roles (Pross and Cruncher both had show stopping moments).

 

But the thing that got me, that kept me really turning the pages and made me really love this book, was Sydney Carton.

 

"It is useless to say, I know, but it rises from my soul. For you, and for any one dear to you, I would do anything."

 

Now, it's no surprise that I'm an utter romantic. I prefer sunshiny roses and, oh, look, a rainbow - how perfect! Let me go cry about it...and blah, blah, blah.

 

Sydney Carton's story of redemption however, really gutted me. And more than anything, it confirmed to me the importance of connecting to other human beings, even in small and maybe, immeasurable ways.

 

Dickens over-arching theme of love, in every form, and the awesome power of that emotion, is everything that I want to believe in in this world. And, as I type that, I know that it sounds...artificial? Maybe even flippant. But in truth, when I really inspect what I loved about this book, it comes down to that. I want to believe that love can have the victory, even if it's just providing a light in utter darkness, and I think that Dickens wanted to believe that too.

 

I really enjoyed this, which is redundant, and will happily read other Dickens novels - perhaps Great Expectations next...or The Old Curiosity Shop. Anyway, it was a great ride!