When one thinks of Charles Dickens one thinks of 'A Tale of Two Cities' or 'Great Expectations' or the classic Christmas tale 'A Christmas Carol'. I don't know about you, but I had never heard of Nicholas Nickleby until I was searching for a Charles Dickens movie to watch and I found a 2001 mini-series based on this book. By the way, the mini-series is not bad at all, and I believe you can watch it on Youtube. But this little review is not about the mini-series, it's about the book.
Don't take this the wrong way, but there's a reason that 'A Tale of Two Cities' and 'A Christmas Carol' and all the others are mentioned over this novel. I feel as though, overall, this book is a little scattered, not compact enough to be a really engrossing novel. Like, it's not as well put together as ATOTC or 'Great Expectations', but I am not blaming Dickens for that, as Nicholas Nickleby was only his third novel. Anywho, despite moments of hilarious wit, and passages of philosophical beauty, I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone just delving into the world of classics. It might well be too overwhelming for a beginner. Trust me, I should know, as I am sadly lacking in my knowledge of the classics. I haven't read too many. This book is pretty darn wordy and the uninitiated of Victorian language could easily get lost in some of Dickens' descriptions of things that I personally don't think really matter. I also think this book is maybe just a little too long, but it was originally published weekly or monthly (I can't recall which) in a newspaper, so it's lengthiness is understandable. But really, enough with the negative points. This book has much to recommend it as well.
|James D'Arcy as Nicholas Nickleby in the 2001 mini-series.... I love his hair.|
Charles Dickens nobly unveils the horrors and evil that took place at the notorious Yorkshire 'Schools' in 1800's England. Having spent time as a child laborer (*cough* slave) himself, Dickens understood what it was like to work day and night with barely enough food to live by and live in a loveless environment (I hate the that word in that kind of sentence but I couldn't think of anything else). He may have had his problems, but at least he didn't shrink from the task of attempting to rid England of terrible establishments much like the fictitious Dotheboy's Hall depicted in Nicholas Nickleby. A supremely epic part in this book is when Nicholas himself, who was employed at the Hall as a teacher/assistant, stops the evil Wackword Squeers (owner and schoolmaster of Dotheboys Hall for Boys) from beating a little boy. Modern day curses and abuses pale in comparison to old-fashioned insults. I mean, Nicholas totally REKTS Squeers. It really is epic! A fight ensues and Nicholas crushes the nasty schoolmaster, after having figuratively done so in speech. I absolutely love it. That is one of the things that I like about Nicholas. He doesn't just sit around worrying when he sees wrongdoings taking place. He actually does something!
I also like his sister Kate a great deal. She is a kind and strong character, although I would've admitted that dear old uncle Ralph is a monster faaaaaar earlier than she did, but I guess that's just because she's a nice person and didn't want to think that her only uncle was a complete jerkface. #kindofunderstandable
A few more good characters include Mr. Linkinwater, Miss La Creevy (SPOILER: The two aforementioned characters get married and it's the cutest thing ever), Mr. John Browdie, Newman Noggs, and we mustn't forget the crippled Smike, a supposed orphan whom Nicholas 'kidnaps' from Dotheboys Hall and becomes a provider and dear best friend to. There are soooo many other good characters (Dickens was always good at characters), but those are just a few of my favorites. Be prepared to be disgusted when you meet Mr. Arthur Gride. I have one word for you: Ew. Like, he's so gross it's not even funny.
Anyway, there you go. A short little review of *big inhale* 'The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, containing a Faithful Account of the Fortunes, Misfortunes, Uprisings, Downfallings and Complete Career of the Nickleby Family'.
That is literally the full title. It's also why I didn't have to write a summary, so I'm not complaining.
If you enjoy classics or are looking for a book to expand your collection of already read classics, I would recommend this. If you're just looking for a light read and this story looks interesting to you, I recommend watching the film series instead of reading the entire book. That's all for today folks. May the bright stars of the night shine their brightest throughout all your days and may the misfortune and darkness of the starless night never befall you. Ciao.
|Kate and her hubby in the movie.|