I finished another Dickens this week by wrapping up The Old Curiosity Shop. I enjoyed it, but it didn't displace any of my favorites.
I honestly can't say why I enjoyed it overall. Everytime I start writing something, it's really more of a negative. The characters do things that would drive me crazy in any other book. I usually hate to-good-to-be-true characters like Nell. I wanted to shake her almost as much as I wanted to shake her grandfather. Yet, she really didn't have much choice in a lot of her actions, and her grandfather is all she has. We love people despite their faults, even when they make it nearly impossible.
I also felt like this book dragged quite a bit in the middle. Nell and her grandfather travel from place to place and the same sort of things keep happening and I kept wanting Dickens to just get on with it already. We do meet some interesting characters along the way, which makes you manage to keep going, but it just starts getting old after a while.
This book does have one of the best villains. Quilp is an evil dwarf! He is definitely experiencing little-man syndrome and makes everyone around him miserable and shows his power as much as he can. For the Feb. prompt for November's Autumn's Classic Challenge, I thought I would write about him. Katherine's level 3 prompt is to write a paragraph as one of the characters. I kept picturing Quilp as a Gollum-like creature, so that influenced my response.
"Oh, my precious. Whose life shall we ruin today? Hee hee hee," Quilp said while stroking a stack of coins. "Ah, it's so nice to have this shop full of my goods. Mine! It's all mine, preciouses. I think today may be the day to spring the trap on Kit. That will teach him it will. What's that precious? My wretched wife is at the door? Let's hide behind this chair and jump out and beat her. Hee hee hee."
It's not the best paragraph in the world, but it shows how Quilp is only concerned about money and torturing people. I think it's funny that the actor who played Quilp did the voice for one of my favorite characters - Dobby! He also played the Dream Lord in Doctor Who!