It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.
Here, I'll let the book largely speak for itself.
“Liberty, equality, fraternity, or death; - the last, much the easiest to bestow, O Guillotine!”
“Sadly, sadly, the sun rose; it rose upon no sadder sight than the man of good abilities and good emotions, incapable of their directed exercise, incapable of his own help and his own happiness, sensible of the blight on him, and resigning himself to let it eat him away.”
“You have been the last dream of my soul.”
“A day wasted on others is not wasted on one's self.”
“A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other.”
“You might, from your appearance, be the wife of Lucifer,” said Miss Pross, in her breathing. “Nevertheless, you shall not get the better of me. I am an Englishwoman.”
A friend of mine had been trying to talk me into reading some Dickens for quite some time. Early on in my life, I'd been exposed to Oliver Twist and detested it so much that I never wanted to be exposed to him again.
However, I gave in and read this classic, much to my delight. Dickens starts with seemingly unrelated characters from every strata of society, in both England and France. Some are fair, some are foul, and some are a muddled mixture of the two. I can't tell exactly how he pulls everything together, without spoiling the plot.
But I can say that it left me with a feeling of bittersweetness. It was a complete ending, one that didn't leave me with the desire for just one more chapter. Goldilocks would have been proud. It was just the right length, without needing one chapter more or less. All the plot strings wove together perfectly, into a wonderfully woven story.
If stories were strings, this would be Dickens:
The struggles of the protagonists of the story will inevitably make you think of your own life, and will challenge you. As an example, one character, Mr. Lorry, goes to incredible lengths to try to remain unclouded by emotion, claiming to be a mechanical businessman, and nothing more. I don't know anyone quite that extreme. However, I can say that there have been instances in my life when I have hidden emotions that should have been revealed. There have also been times when I've fanned emotions that should have been repressed, and vice versa. It makes you think.
Also, many thought provoking questions are posed more directly. The French revolution was "the best of times, it was the worst of times." Was it justified in any manner to start butchering a class of people that had been butchering others for centuries, in order to free a country? How could a nation obsessed with philosophy fall to the wrath of the mob? And how could a country that was so fond of "liberté, égalité, fraternité" happily butcher people while barely making a pretense of a trial?
Historical Fiction, Adult, Mystery, Fiction, Christian Fiction, Romance
(It's completely clean, so pretty much an all-ages read. However, as mentioned in the review, the depth and reasoning will mostly likely surpass younger readers unless they're a prodigy :)
(This book is wonderful... but it did start rather slowly.)
Dickens doesn't fixate on the violence of the French revolution. However, it is the backdrop of the book, and inevitably is commented on quite a few times. However, he avoids diving too deeply into the death and destruction. Nonetheless, the guillotine, regardless of how much detail is used to describe it, probably isn't good reading material for smaller children.
Hardly any. The only objectionable thing is that French people sometimes have a habit of flinging off rather important pieces of clothing. The book doesn't go into detail about that, but it does imply it. Mobs do really strange things sometimes...
A few swear words are partially r------ (redacted) like that. I think that there were a few times when people frivolously used God's name.
The only magic in this book is the magic of Dickens's writing.
Western, perhaps with some Christian overtones.