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The Good Times Are Killing Me

I'm a nerdy girl with too much time on her hands, and too many books on her to-read pile.

Currently reading

Household Stories by the Brothers Grimm
Wilhelm Grimm, Jacob Grimm, Lucy Crane, Walter Crane
Natasha Wimmer, Roberto Bolaño

Tale of Two Cities

A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens I believe that I’m one of the few people on this website that wasn’t familiar at all with the plot or the characters of this book. I knew that it was a classic, and that it had a great opening paragraph, but the rest was a complete mystery to me. I was also going to challenge myself, and read the book in English, with no translation or help of any kind. With that in mind I was prepared to find the story passable, (or moderately enjoyable) but only after spending a couple of months deciphering Dickens complicated style. The first part was a bit hard. Not as hard as I feared, but it forced me to reread some paragraphs and sentences. After getting the hang of it though, it was much easier to concentrate on the AWESOMENESS of Dickens’s writing, capable of recreating the French revolution in a way that made me see the every drop of blood, and hear every scream. I especially enjoyed his reflections on oppression, both on the side of the Monarchy and the Republic. Punishing violence with violence creates a vicious circle that changes the faces on top without making things much better. But the best part is the story. Slow at first, it gains strength and speed as it progresses, and you can't put the book down even if you want to. The characters felt human: Even the ones you oppose, like Madame Defarge, have reasonable motivations, and to an extent I could see that she didn’t act out of a desire to do evil, but of a sense of justice and revenge that made no distinction among generations. She was my favorite character of the book; in a time when women were thought of as vain and whimsical, here comes one with clear ideas and purposes, with the power to command attention and respect, and fearless. Again, I didn’t want her to get away with everything, but she never lost my respect. I also liked Lucy. She was depicted as an angel, but had enough courage to endure dangerous times, and to be the strength of her family and friends. She was sensible, intelligent, didn’t rely on looks to get what she wanted, and never got hysterical or did something stupid. As for Sydney Carton… wow. That is one hell of a character. How come I never heard of him before? At first I took him for “the bad guy” because of the scene in the trial and his presentation as an individual with a dark past, but he was just a guy in love with a worthy woman that (I think) would have felt the same if he had given himself a chance. This book has everything: action, love, a believable plot, good pacing, suspense… It easily gets a place on my “favorites” shelf and a warm spot in my heart.