Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Dickens: A Life

For my third post for Amanda's Charles Dickens Month celebration I expected to write a glowing review of Claire Tomalin's Dickens: A Life. Sadly this is not meant to be. I've been on the waiting list at the library forever to get this one, and it was the only library book I was going to let myself read as an exception to CB's TBR Double Dare (because it finally came in Dec. 30). Unfortunately, I only read/skimmed about the first 100 pages.

I think part of the problem is that I'm already fairly familiar with Dickens' life, even though I've never read a full biography on him. I studied him pretty in depth in one of my master's level classes, and most of the information in this section wasn't new to me. I would have kept skimming and just reading the new-to-me bits, but I HATED that Tomalin kept throwing in spoilers without warning.

Fortunately, the spoliers I saw were all for books I'd already read (thankfully I'd just finished Oliver Twist!) and for The Old Curiousity Shop, which I hadn't read but that had already been spoiled for me. She just seems to assume anyone reading has already read all of Dickens' works, which was annoying. She should have at least given some sort of warning upfront since presumably many people pick up author biographies when they haven't read an author's complete works.

So, consider this your warning! If you're interested in reading a biography on Dickens, only pick this one up if you're okay with spoilers. (Does anyone else picture River Song every time they use the word "spoilers"?)

1 comment:

  1. I considered picking up this book, but I was worried that I would encounter the same problem. I haven't read all of his works yet and I didn't want the stories to be ruined. Maybe I will wait until I complete the works to read a bio on him.