Rumbled by Mr Jingle? Charles Dickens' first fiend
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Charles Dickens' breakout success has two separate halves. The comic picturesque scenes in the Kent countryside with the double-speaking Mr. Jingle, and the unwitting Pickwick club's uncomfortable adventures in love and dating must have influenced the 'Carry On' films which came later on. The second section where Mr Pickwick gets thrown in debtor's prison after an incompetent trial, pave the way for the poignant story lines, social commentary, empathy for the poor and grimy Victorian conditions of later books. There are a couple of early ghost stories thrown in, which might come from Dickens own childhood as he was only twenty something when he wrote this. Nicholas Nickleby which comes a year or two later has one of these story lines about a count or countess and (I believe) it slows down the story. Not so in Pickwick, the stories are so fresh and filled with vitality and energy, you have to stop and wonder at the sheer single-mindedness of the man, for he had 10 children to support in his lifetime. Could he have been practicing for his role as father later in life by writing the story of the beleaguered but well-meaning Mr Pickwick?
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