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Dock

Our Mutual Friend - Charles Dickens

"involved plot combined with an entire absence of the skill to manage and unfold it".

The above quote is taken from an 1865 review of Our Mutual Friend from The New York Times. After limping through the near nine hundred pages of this book I personally think the NYT summed this book up perfectly. There are many who think this book is great. I am not one of them.

This was Dickens last complete novel (the actual last being the unfinished The Mystery of Edwin Drood) and out of the seven of his novels I have read it was the least enjoyable. As a fan of Charles Dickens the reader allows for things to unfold at a leisurely pace but three hundred pages in I was still waiting for any hint of plot or interesting characters. The characters have the usual wonderful names like Mr. Podsnap, Silas Wegg, and Noddy Boffin but out of the approx thirty odd characters I would say only twelve are actually needed in the story and none of the characters are entertaining or made three dimensional which is something CD has no trouble in doing in other books of his I have enjoyed. And I am speaking as somebody who loves Dickens characters and convoluted plot lines in general but this was a very flat reading experience for me. It was a bit like quicksand, the more I read and applied myself to the harder it was for me to give up on it as I hoped for something to happen in which the plot and characters would spring into life. It didn't happen. I could go into more detail but Our Mutual Friend has already taken up far too much of my time. My association with it ends with the sentence you are reading.
Frazier Cranium

I am taking you at your opening paragraph too, Dock, thanks for the review, good work.

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