BOOK NOTES #1 : Bleak House, by Charles Dickens

Ugh, I don’t think I can do this. I can’t bring myself to finish Bleak House. As much as I prefer it over Our Mutual Friend — which was quite a pain to finish, despite the preciousness of the John Harmon/Bella Wilfer story arc — I don’t think I can bear dragging my eyes over any more pages containing Esther’s blind praises of Richard and Ada, or Mr. Jarndyce’s tolerance and continued support of the infuriating Harold Skimpole.

A sampling of my frustration, extracted from my reading journal:

Perhaps this is due to the remnant of last night’s angerfest with M., but I am itching to whack Richard upside the head. Very hard. With something hefty. But not too solid, so as to bash his questionably-present brain in.

And Esther — really? I can think of at least 10 reasons to be entirely displeased with Richard. I don’t care about his ‘good nature’ or his ‘high spirits’ or his fondness for Ada. The boy has no sense of responsibility, or sense of any kind. {I’m rather glad he dies of consumption in the end (oh, irony).}

It also doesn’t help that I’ve watched the BBC adaptation of the book, and therefore know how everything works itself out in the end. Without curiosity to drive me, I’m left with no motivation to finish the book.

Am I just being unreasonably irritated? hopeless dense? missing the point of the book entirely (as in: no duh Jennifer, you’re SUPPOSED to think such-and-such. It’s social commentary.)?

Well, I won’t give up on the book. Not yet. I’ll just put it on hiatus, and wait till I’m feeling less inclined to cudgel the main characters to pick the book back up.

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2 thoughts on “BOOK NOTES #1 : Bleak House, by Charles Dickens”

  1. I don’t think you’re being unreasonably irritated. If you, the reader, are annoyed, you shouldn’t put up with it. But I also have little patience for Dickens. It might be good social commentary, but he hides it well. I think putting it aside for a while might be a good idea. Sometimes books click and sometimes they don’t.

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