The Old Curiosity Shop

I have a certain fascination with pre-twentieth century English literature, one of my favorite authors being Charles Dickens. For some reason, I am unequivocally drawn into his highly descriptive style of writing, his colorful characters - often of quite extreme colors, and his underlying sense of justice for the lower classes of 19th century England. One of my favorite books by Charles Dickens is The Old Curiosity Shop. In 2009 BBC Video put out a very well done movie of the classic. Although I enjoyed watching it and am glad that the screen writiers stuck to the true story for the most part, it really cannot do the book justice. Here is a review that I wrote about the book after reading it earlier this year:

The Old Curiosity Shop
Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens' The Old Curiosity Shop, is a signature style Dickens - exceedingly descriptive and character-driven with a thread of whimsical. This diametrically replete tale counter-weighs angelic innocence with shameless evil. Originally written in segments and published weekly, its old-world readership was undoubtedly as addicted from week to week as current TV viewers of "Lost" or "24".

The Old Curiosity Shop portrays the lovely child, Nell, who's life's enduring purpose is to love and care for her elderly grandfather despite the hardship and turmoil to which he unknowingly brings upon them. When the grandfather's secret obsession leads the two on a dangerous journey to find freedom, Nell is subjected for the first time to humanity's desperation and despondency.

As each lovely character must have an equally opposing unlovely counterpart, so the story features an ugly dwarf named Daniel Quilp, who's facinatingly evil schemes seek to ruin anyone who has even a hint of goodness. This tale is not for the weak spirited, nor for those who wish their characters to be common, ordinary, law abiding citizens. Although you will encounter poetical fools, gritty poker-shysters, spineless egotistical tools, and quivering abused wives, the redeeming actors put the story into a beautiful balance. The Old Curiosity Shop is a truly enjoyable tale and worth all 500 pages.


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