Thursday, 4 December 2014

The Pickwick Papers Read-a-long: Chapters Twenty-four to Thirty-four

Tuesday: Chapters Twenty-four to Twenty-eight (and a half)

This may be it. This may be the week that this post doesn't go up on time. After I finished last week's Pickwick reading, I moved onto Days of Blood and Starlight (which was amazing and I finished in a day) but I just haven't bothered picking anything else up. That's incredibly unlikely me and I'm tempted to blame on just not wanting to pick Pickwick back up.

Anyway, I finally did today, only two days before the deadline... and it just isn't happening. I can't get past the text to the point where it becomes images in your head (if that makes any sense), so I'm just reading words and not seeing the story.

It didn't help that when I jumped back in, I had absolutely no idea what was going on. As it turns out, we were listening to somebody explain how they wanted to propose (and Pickwick providing expert guidance, because he's always had such luck in that department) but I thought we were talking about the Bardwell v Pickwick issue... and arrrrrgh.

However, this amused me no end:

What fine places of slow torture they are! Think of the needy man who has spent his all, beggared himself, and pinched his friends, to enter the profession, which is destined never to yield him a morsel of bread. The waiting - the hope - the disappointment - the fear - the misery - the poverty - the blight on his hopes, an end to his career - the suicide perhaps, or the shabby slipshod drunkard. Am I not right about them?

Why yes, Mr Dickens. You are indeed quite right about lawyers. Miserable creatures, all.

I don't know, I don't think it's particularly that the book has changed, as there are still some quite funny parts within. I found that Oliver Twist and Great Expectations both switched from being lively and sarcastic into being rather dull... but I can't even blame Pickwick on that. I think I'm just losing interest from the repetitiveness.

   "You recollect the case of the Middlesex Dumpling and the Suffolk Bantam, Grummer?"
   Mr. Grummer intimated, by a retrospective shake of the head, that he should never forget it - as indeed it ws not likely he would, so long as it continued to be cited daily.

See!? It's good. Sometimes.

Unfortunately we got to Chapter Twenty Three and I just couldn't take it anymore. It's where Sam goes home to see his father and it's alsmost incomprehensible. 

   "Ven you're a married man, Samivel, you'll understand a good many things as you don't understand now; but vether it's worth while goin' through so much, to learn so little, as the charity-boy said ven he got to the end of the alphabet, is a matter o' taste. I rayther think it isn't.'   
   "Well," said Sam, "good-bye."
   "Tar tar, Sammy," replied his father.

And so on and so forth. Alright, let's examine that.

1) Why do they interchange v and w? I thought it was an error in my e-book because NOBODY TALKS LIKE THAT but the rest of the text is fine.
2) Samivel? Really? LEARN YOUR OWN SON'S NAME....
3)... as you can't do that but are apparently fully able to use a semi-colon.
4) Stop using stupid similes. They're annoying and made it difficult to read.
5) 'Tar tar' makes my OCD flare up so badly I want to be sick.

And then we're on to Chapter Twenty Four which is written in a rambly present tense and for some reason breaks the fourth wall? Why are we doing that again? I hate you. I slammed it down and gave up.

 Wednesday: Chapters Twenty-eight to Twenty-nine

 Well, wasn't I grouchy yesterday? In my defence, I still couldn't read Chapter Twenty-four without wanting to hit something, so I skipped ahead until we jumped back into the third person for no discernible reason.

Now we're at the goblins and all is right with the world. Surely this story was a precursor to A Christmas Carol though? Grumpy man, taken away by a spirit on Christmas Eve to watch an otherwise happy family as their youngest son lies dieing?


I think it's started to pick up a little, now we're in the present tense third person and we've stopped telling pointless stories about goblins. I do wish someone would take Pickwick down a few pegs though - he's starting to irritate me with his preaching and his judgements. What gives him the right to ponce about declaring his friends to be immoral and humbugs? Grr.

HA. And then he falls through the ice. This book is looking up.

Thursday: Thirty to Thirty-three

I'll be honest; I've completely lost interest with this book. I'm going to keep reading it as it's occasionally quite clever but I can't deal with the plot (or lack thereof) itself. I'm also supremely irritated by some characters (Pickwick) and want to throw up when certain other ones speak (Sam and his father) so it's safe to say we're not getting along.

On the bright side, I'm reasonably looking forward to picking it back up as I know the next chapter is the Bardell v Pickwick trial, which I'm actually interested in.

I'm still grateful to Bex for hosting the read-a-long as at least I had the chance to find out that I didn't like it!


  1. Yeah I kind of hate it too. Just, I don't know, I think I have a bit of a love of torturing myself thing going on with Dickens. I don't think it helps that all my Dickens are really old books and smell gorgeous which makes me feel all nostalgic. Also occasionally I find bits I really like and get quite involved in it, but then there are all the bits where I massively skim because I just can't be arsed.

    Gah Dickens, how I love to hate you.

  2. I'm gradually being won over to the side of not really enjoying the book. Hehe. Oh well! I hate how Sam and his dad speak too. I feel like Dickens falls back on making people speak weirdly far too often, and it never seems to actually represent a real accent, it's irritating.

    Maybe the book will end with Pickwick looking back on his behaviour (seeing as he has apparently written it all down), realising what a monumental arse he is and then deciding to go and make amends for all the idiotic things that he's done.

    Days of Blood and Starlight! Yay! I really need to read the last book in that series...

    1. I think it's alright at first but then it's repetitiveness drags you down. Considering I've never heard ANYBODY talk like that, I have no idea why his characters persist in doing so.

      I hope you're right but I'm not sure. I know it's awful but I'm really hoping he loses at trial in the next chapter! Admittedly that whole fiasco wasn't his fault for once, but he still needs to be taken down a few pegs.

      Me too, it's one of my Must Read Before January books :)

  3. We're in this together! I'm going through the same thing as well, picking up books to the right and left of The Pickwick Papers and finishing them in a sitting. Meanwhile, I'm just slogging through Dickens.

    I was wondering how you'd react to Dickens piling on his hate for lawyers, hahaha and I'm SO GLAD I wasn't the only one who couldn't stand "Samivel's" father!

    1. It really makes you appreciate non-dickens books, doesn't it? :p

      There's always SOMETHING about lawyers in all his books and it always amuses me.

  4. I think the v and w is supposed to be some old-timey accent that nobody uses anymore. Dickens does it pretty often, but I have no idea what sort of accent it's supposed to portray--I'm American, so I figured you Brits would know....

    1. Haha, nope. We have no idea either. I just can't remember seeing it before either in films or in books, so it just seems incredibly odd.

  5. Have you ever read Oliver Twist? If you haven't and you hate the way Sam and his father talk that much, FFS don't read Oliver. For what it's worth, I just mentally correct the V's back to W's as I'm reading and then add a Cockney accent.

    I know I'm behind - because life got in the way, oops, and also because I think I'm going to prefer savoring it a bit more - but I'm still LOVING this book. It's such a shame that I appear to be the only one not finding it a drag, it's one of the most enjoyable things I've read in ages. *cradles book and attempts to feed it chocolate drops and tea*

    1. I have, my order of preference so far, goes:

      A Christmas Carol
      Great Expectations
      Oliver Twist
      A Tale of Two Cities

      I actually didn't mind OT and I don't remember a lot of irritating accents? :s I know, I try to correct them as I read but them I'm aware that I'm doing it, so it breaks my concentration!

      Haha, you do seem to be somewhat on your own with this on. I have to say, I expected to like it more than I actually do.

  6. Guess what? I hate this book too! I know, I should have mentioned it before! :-o

    I have actually officially stopped reading it now :| I just can't face picking it up again. I don't want the time I've spent reading it to have been wasted but equally, I keep thinking of what I *could* be reading if I wasn't reading it and it means that my already slow reading filled with hatred has become even more slow and even more filled with resentment. I hate it. It's awful. I'm glad I know that. That's the best thing I can say about the experience.

    You have my eternal respect for powering through to the end!


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