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A Tales of Two Cities Read-Along – Update #2

dickens

What the Dickens is going on?

I honestly don’t think I like this book. I keep saying to myself, “It’s Dickens. It’s a good book.”, but I’m just lying to myself. Now at Chapter 20, I think I’ve been patient enough. What is the point of the story? Who am I supposed to feel something for in the book? All of the characters? Great Expectations, the only other Dickens I have read, had a very clear plot and hero. I guess I need things more cut and dried. Okay, grumpy rant is over.

* * *

Orphan Manette

I love the description of a Mary Sue that Laura provides in her Update #2 post because it’s so true of Lucie Manette. Dickens is renowned for the orphans in his stories; however, so far as I can tell, Lucie doesn’t possess the same characteristics of a Pip or Oliver who overcome poverty and abuse to become independent and find some peace in life. Lucie doesn’t appear to have suffered any hardships at all, although we aren’t given many details about her upbringing. However, being an orphan could explain her creepy attachment to Doctor Manette.

jamie

Oh Jamie Oliver, go back to your outdoor kitchen with its granite pizza oven and marble picnic table.

* * *

Sydney, please stop talking

I don’t know about you, but I found Sydney Carton’s attempt at showing Lucie his feelings for her awkward and painful.

sydney

* * *

Viva la resistance!

The Defarges are the most interesting characters by far. After recently reading two books set in Paris during the Nazi Occupation, I immediately thought of the French Resistance when it became apparent the Defarges have some kind of secret underground operation.

* * *

Oprah’s Bookmark

In addition to the character list on Oprah’s Book Club site that Laura mentions, you can also print a pretty bookmark with the list. Just paste Laura’s reading schedule on top of Oprah’s.

* * *

The Magic Porridge Pot

I’m reading The Magic Porridge Pot by Paul Galdone with my kids and this scene from the book reminded me of Chapter 5 when the poor people drank the red wine that spilled in the streets.

pot

What does everyone else think about A Tale of Two Cities so far?

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13 comments on “A Tales of Two Cities Read-Along – Update #2

  1. Naomi
    May 9, 2014

    Ha! I love that picture of The Magic Porridge Pot!

    I agree, the Defarges are the best part, so far. And Sydney’s speech to Lucie was painful, but also perplexing. I have to admit, he is the character I am the most curious about right now.

    It sounds like we’re in about the same spot in the book right now, and I still don’t know everything that’s going on yet, either, but it doesn’t bother me not to know. And, I like books with lots of characters and subplots going on. It just makes me more curious how they are all going to come together. If he doesn’t make that happen well for me, though, than I won’t be happy!

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      May 9, 2014

      I went for a walk after I published the post and realized maybe I’m being too hard on the book. Guess we will have to put our faith in Dickens to make all these characters and plots come together coherently.

      Like

  2. a reader
    May 9, 2014

    This is one of my favorite books. 🙂

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      May 9, 2014

      I’m probably being too hard on the story, but I hope we get answers to the mystery surrounding these characters soon. :0

      Like

  3. Sophia
    May 9, 2014

    Yeah, Lucie Manette is not exactly Dickens’ deepest character… she was never my favorite.

    And don’t worry – there will be answers to mysteries, and Dickens will very neatly tie up all loose ends, as he so often does. 🙂

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      May 12, 2014

      Thanks! So glad to know Dickens will tie things together. Who is your favourite Dickens character?

      Like

      • Sophia
        May 12, 2014

        Well, seeing as I’ve only read Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectactions (I’ve started Bleak House and Old Curiosity Shop but never finished), I’d say my favorite might be Jerry Cruncher, though Madame Defarge is definitely a close second.

        Like

  4. DoingDewey
    May 9, 2014

    Sydney definitely should not have said anything to Lucie! I think burdening someone else, especially someone you’ve hardly spoken too, with your worries like that is selfish and a bit creepy. I don’t entirely get the point of Lucie’s character so far. We hear about her a lot from other people, but I don’t feel like we’ve gotten to know here at all.

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      May 12, 2014

      Sometimes I think Lucie isn’t supposed to be anything but a love interest in the story, but then I think maybe Dickens will surprise us and she will turn out to be a villain. Or maybe I just wish that would happen to make her more interesting. 🙂

      Like

  5. I didn’t particularly like this book the first time I read it but the second time, I thought it was great. Lucy drove me nuts the first time, but on my second read I just took her as a very sweet, complacent, drab character ….. just someone with a different personality and I tried to find positive points about her. I do think Dickens struggles with portraying believable female characters at times. Keep plodding through and (I think) you’ll like it at the end better than you do now.

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      May 12, 2014

      Thanks! Everyone is saying to hang in there and Dickens will make it worthwhile, but I’m definitely plodding through right now.

      Like

  6. lauratfrey
    May 11, 2014

    I didn’t mind that scene with Sydney, though I was kind of like “gimme a break Syd, you were totally hoping Lucie would be overcome with emotion and declare her love for you” and I was pretty glad she didn’t!

    Defarges are awesome. I’ve just read a few chapters without them and I want the story to go back there.

    I’m just now started to care about Charles and Dr. Manette, and what the big deal was when Charles revealed his real name. But 250 pages to start to feel emotionally involved is a little much!!

    I have been a little grumpy with this book too, but I’m on Book the Third! Home stretch!

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      May 12, 2014

      Wow, I can’t believe we’re at the Third Book already! I’m a little behind the reading schedule, but really hoping Dickens ties things up in the ending.

      Like

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