The Pickwick Papers Read-along: Week 1 – Chapters 1 to 11
Let’s start my first post as part of Bex’s read-along of The Pickwick Papers
with truth time: I am languishing behind on the reading already. And not just a little bit behind. I’ve read three chapters out of the allotted 11. Great job, Charlotte. Great job indeed.
I do have some relatively ill-informed feelings about what I have read of The Pickwick Papers, though, that I’m going to share so that at least I’m on track with the posting part of the read-along.
So far, I’m kind of lukewarm. I know, I know – this book is long and three chapters is nothing BUT I know what I like and from what I’ve read? This is only sort of it. Reading it is perfectly fine – the writing is witty and the characters are endearing enough but it’s just lacking drive. I can see why it worked perfectly when published in instalments because the little snippets of the Pickwickians’ escapades are entertaining and I can imagine them being a pleasant diversion from Victorian industry. I’m less convinced about them bound together and branded as a novel. It’s funny (to the laugh out out extent in later chapters, I’m reliably informed) in that wry kind of mocking way that Dickens excels at:
“The barmaid had positively refused to draw any more liquor; in return for which he had (merely in playfulness) drawn his bayonet, and wounded the girl in the shoulder. And yet this fine fellow was the very first to go down to the house next morning and express his readiness to overlook the matter, and forget what had occurred”
It might not be particularly compelling reading but I don’t mind reading it when I’ve actually picked it up. Sadly, I pretty much have no inclination to actually do the picking up part. I am sorely missing a discernible plot. Maybe one develops over the many, many pages that I have left but it’s not looking that way.
I’m determined to catch up and I know that reading it won’t be a torturous experience but it won’t be something that I look forward to getting back to. I don’t really have that much more to say because of the whole only having read three chapters thing and the bottom line is pretty simple: I don’t hate it and I don’t love it. The Pickwick Papers is (I keep wanting to write ‘are’!) ok.
How are my fellow read-along-ers getting on? Anyone else read The Pickwick Papers and can tell me it gets super exciting later on? Check back in next week for chapters 12 to 23 (probably)!