Thursday, May 24, 2012

A Tale of Two Cities

by Charles Dickens

I believe A Tale of Two Cities was required reading when I was in 8th grade because I remember Mr. Gershwin trying so hard to convince our class that this was a great literary work. I really wanted to believe him, because I thought he was such a fun teacher, but at the time I just didn't like it. I only grasped that it was a story about London and Paris and the French Revolution. A few weeks ago, one of my reading buddies was recounting a debate she and another friend were having about which was the better Dickens work, A Tale of Two Cities or Great Expectations. I was immediately taken aback because of my negative pre-teen recollections. But because I have such respect for these two women, I decided I needed to give Dickens another shot.

Without a doubt, the introduction is one of the most recognized in literature: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..." And that intro is both a foreshadow and a summary of the rest of the book.

Even so, I read with trepidation. I found the first half of the book moving rather slowly and a bit hard to follow. The chapters jumped from character to character and city to city and it was hard for me to determine a path. I felt a bit bogged down, but determined. And now I say with confidence, "Stick with it my friends!" The second half of the book takes hold of you and pulls you to the finish, "It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known."

You were right Mr. Gershwin, this is a great literary work! 

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