What the Dickens?

I used to hate Charles Dickens.  And that's coming from an English major.

I thought he was depressing and if I had to read about another sad boy living in the dank alleyways of London, I might scream.

Perhaps it has a lot to do with how my heart has changed that I have returned to Charles Dickens for the very reason I left him: for his willingness to write about the dark and ugly parts of life, for the human quirks of his characters, for his brilliant wit that skewers the timeless absurdities of human vanity and pride.

His details show a loving attention to the widow, the orphan, and the stranger.  In this day, Dickens might be the one demanding justice on twitter and blogs for the millions of homeless children, trafficked girls and political prisoners. (Or maybe I'm taking the twitter thing too far. Frankly, he might have strong words for the isolation of our social networking).

Now, don't get me wrong.  Just because you don't like Dickens doesn't mean you're against social justice.  I mean, the guy seriously needed an editor.

But if you're looking for a new read, give Little Dorrit a try.  A novel about a young woman who is born and raised in a debtor's prison and continues to care for her imprisoned father even though she's free...it's a story of deep love and sacrifice worth reading.