16 Responses

  1. Allie
    Allie January 19, 2012 at 10:36 pm |

    I think I might have to try this one again. I read it in the big readalong of doom, and I rushed through the second half because I was very far behind. I think that if I took it slowly and allowed myself to give it a chance, I might get more out of it. I also think that since it was the second big Dickens title I tackled, I still had a bias against it. Maybe now I would fall in love with it.

    You pointed out a few things that I also didn’t pull together. There was SO MUCH in this one that I had a hard time keeping track of who was who and why they were important. I’m amazed that Dickens pulled it all together!

    1. Rebecca Reid
      Rebecca Reid January 23, 2012 at 6:13 pm |

      Allie » I actually really liked reading it quickly. It was a lot but it also helped me remember what was happening. I think it would be very hard to read it piecemeal as a serial…There are so many characters and settings and complications in the plot it would be a challenge. I do think it will be a rewarding reread, though! So much there to enjoy!

      1. Rebecca Reid
        Rebecca Reid January 23, 2012 at 6:14 pm |

        …or, in your case, maybe hopefully understand or appreciate a little more….

  2. Chrisbookarama
    Chrisbookarama January 20, 2012 at 7:54 am |

    Mr Skimpoole- I always remember that guy. “I’m a child.” No, you are not. And Guppy, what a shallow guy. I didn’t like how Jarndyce put Esther in that position when he asked her to marry him. Sure, she felt obligated to him, how could she not? Wasn’t he more like a father to her? How confusing it must have been for her.

    Now that you’ve read it, will you watch the BBC production? It is so good.

    1. Rebecca Reid
      Rebecca Reid January 23, 2012 at 6:15 pm |

      Chrisbookarama » I do want to watch the BBC production! I’ve heard it is so good! And yes, Skimpole is horrid. As for Guppy, he just was such a fish, I found his name was simply perfect for him. As for the Jarndyce-Esther romance, I too wasn’t very comfortable with that. But Esther said she was expecting it? That’s what I didn’t understand. Esther didn’t seem very consistent to me…

  3. The Very Hungry Bookworm
    The Very Hungry Bookworm January 21, 2012 at 10:29 am |

    I read this for a victorian literature class in college and I LOVED it. I don’t remember too many of the details, but spontaneous combustion still has a pretty solid place in my heart :)

    1. Rebecca Reid
      Rebecca Reid January 23, 2012 at 6:16 pm |

      The Very Hungry Bookworm » I wish I’d read more Dickens in school, I really enjoy his novels/plots/characters and I feel I discovered him very late! Spontaneous Combustion is certainly the most memorable part of the novel, I think…

  4. Susan
    Susan January 21, 2012 at 3:15 pm |

    I have seen the BBC production (with Gillian Anderson), and have the book on my list to read very shortly. I’ve wanted to read it for a while, since the BBC production. I enjoyed your review of it quite a lot, especially your thoughts on what you liked as well as what you didn’t like about the book, and where you thought Bleak House succeeded as a novel. I’m curious to see what I will enjoy the most.
    Did you like the character of Esther? And Lady Dedlock? I was sad too when they couldn’t continue their relationship, especially after just finding one another again. I hate Tulkinghorn, he is simply evil, isn’t he?

    1. Rebecca Reid
      Rebecca Reid January 23, 2012 at 6:17 pm |

      Susan » Esther seemed rather uneven. I wasn’t sure she was a very reliable narrator for some parts of it, but I’d have to reread it to fully put that thought together. Of course, no one is ever a reliable narrator, so it raises issues. I struggled with Lady Dedlock. I wanted to like her but she seemed so selfish and cold from the beginning, it was hard to do so. I did wish for a happy ending for her, though… :(

  5. Tania (moshimoshinekobookreview)
    Tania (moshimoshinekobookreview) January 22, 2012 at 9:41 am |

    I began reading this, but I’ve been reading mostly Dickens for January, so I might have come to the point that, having not enjoyed most of the books I’ve read, I feel sceptical about even trying for fear that it’s another Dicken’s book I won’t enjoy.

    1. Rebecca Reid
      Rebecca Reid January 23, 2012 at 6:19 pm |

      Tania (moshimoshinekobookreview) » well, this is not a book for everyone, but I sure enjoyed it! My suggestion for a first Dickens is Great Expectations or A Christmas Carol (those are my favorites).

  6. Karen K.
    Karen K. January 22, 2012 at 10:27 am |

    I LOVE Bleak House, it is by far my favorite Dickens. However, I cheerfully admit that it was the BBC serial that had me hooked, which made reading the novel, much, much easier since I knew the story and characters already. I’ve read/listened to it a couple of times since, and I still love it. I agree, there are some plot threads that never quite come together, but for such an ambitious novel, I’m willing to forgive Dickens.

    I’ve just started Martin Chuzzlewit and I am hesitant, because I’ve heard very mixed things about it. I read Dombey and Son last year and was disappointed. Hopefully I haven’t read all the best of Dickens so far.

    1. Rebecca Reid
      Rebecca Reid January 23, 2012 at 6:20 pm |

      Karen K. » I’m looking forward to watching the BBC movie! I do think watching the movie first would help one pull thoughts together as they read. But, there is something wonderful in the language, I can’t imagine it as a movie! I’ve heard negative things about Chuzzlewit too. Maybe just go back and reread all the great novels you’ve already enjoyed? I have so many yet to go, I’m not too worried :)

  7. Lindsey
    Lindsey January 22, 2012 at 7:39 pm |

    I’m so glad you ended up liking this! I was sad about Esther and Mrs. Dedlock too. I wish they could have gotten to know each other. I’ve read that Skimpole was based on someone Dickens’ knew – that’s a bit scary! He was apparently a bit ticked off on reading this book, understandably. I started the BBC version but never finished it – I’ve heard so many good things about it I suppose I should give it a try again!

    1. Rebecca Reid
      Rebecca Reid January 23, 2012 at 6:21 pm |

      Lindsey » YES! Skimpole was based on someone, which I found incredibly scary. He turns out even worse by the end of Bleak House. I can’t believe what the fictional Skimpole said in his autobiography. I can understand why Leigh Hunt would be rather ticked off by Dickens’ protrayal of Hunt in this novel!

  8. Stefanie
    Stefanie January 25, 2012 at 6:19 pm |

    So glad you liked the book! Lady Dedlock’s death was sad but Jo’s made me cry. Nabokov has an excellent piece on Bleak House in his Lectures on Literature. In it he dissects the structure of the book and even talks about Miss Flite and her birds.

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