Sunday 22 December 2013

A Tale of Two Cities Readalong: The Last Bit

This is it! I have officially done it and actually finished a Dickens novel for the first time (excluding A Christmas Carol last year) since university! I have to say that despite not posting last week, due to general crafty craziness and order overload, picture to be found at the bottom of this post for those who are interested, I'm really proud of myself! Aaaaand book 3 was so much the best of the three that it was just amazing. I didn't cry at the end, but I wasn't that far off, I will admit. Sydney Carton it an epic epic man. 

Also yay for Miss Pross, because Madame Defarge may have been a really cool character, but she was also kind of a lunatic...I think my favourite thing about this book was that everything played out exactly how I thought it would be at the same time not at all how I'd expected it to. In the beginning I expected Darnay to turn out the hero, and while certain aspects of him were quite heroic, he is clearly not as awesome as certain other people! There are going to be spoilers now, if you haven't read the book yet look away!

So, usually when people die because they love someone that much or whatever I sigh and roll my eyes and mutter something like 'Beauty and the Beast rip off' or 'Pokemon tears will bring you back to life'. Because I'm cool and all my movie references are really current, obviously. But this was just epic and brilliant and I loved it. I loved that Carton loved Lucie for years without ever mentioning it to anybody else, without anybody else ever suspecting and without being totally pathetic about it. I loved that he just accepted his own shortcomings, but then that he totally redefined his character in the last few chapters of the book, and that all of his basic character flaws which had been laid down in the first two books were reconstructed to enable him to perform his final heroic act at the end. Basically, I just loved it. 

That said Lucie herself didn't get much better over the course of the book. She still didn't seem to have much of a point except to be the perfect woman that everybody aspired to being with or whatever, but it stopped bothering me so much as we found out more about the Doctor's story and as events unfolded throughout book 3. I really enjoyed the backstory of the Doctor, and it gave a nice little twist just when everything was getting a bit predictable, plus it gave Madame Defarge a reason for her mentalness. 

So yes, A Tale of Two Cities in summary: quite slow moving with a few kind of pointless and slightly stupid characters (I'm an ex-aristocratic Frenchman who ran away and abandoned my estate but I know! I'll go back to France just when the Revolution is kicking off, nothing bad will happen!) but several fairly epic character and one who may have the greatest storyline and character development ever. I will keep you posted. How's your readalong gone? Do you all still hate it?


  1. Thanks for having this readalong! I really did like the book and I'm glad I gave Dickens another shot :-)
    I also basically agree with everything you said in this post. (Carton! Yes!)
    My own wrap-up post ended up being a little short because - well, I have essays to write, that's why. :-(
    Have a nice Christmas!


  2. I loved it, too. Thanks for the readalong encouragement. Miss Pross I thought was a useless character, and she turned out to have a significant role in the grand scheme of things.

    If you are interested, the 1980 version of the story is on Youtube. I watched the whole thing, and it follows the plot closely.

    Thanks, again, for hosting!

  3. I really enjoyed it! Although it did take me a while to get into it, and I found a few things annoying about it, I did really enjoy it overall!

    Like you, I still found Lucie annoying, but there wasn't so much of everyone going LUCIE IS PERFECT!!! in the last bit, so it didn't bother me as much.

    I also agree that the ending was done well - that kind of thing bothers me as well, but it completely made sense, and it's kind of rare (in fiction, and I expect in real life) for a character to be in love with someone but be completely selfless and just think of the other person throughout the whole thing, and not their own happiness. Yay Carton!!

    Thank you for hosting :D It's been fun! (and has made this hellish month of work slightly more cheerful!)

  4. I actually didn't find Lucie that annoying... which is odd because I find EVERYBODY annoying. Fiction-wise, of course. I did get a little tired of heads constantly laying on breasts... for God's sake, lay your head on your own damn breast.

    I'm an ex-aristocratic Frenchman who ran away and abandoned my estate but I know! I'll go back to France just when the Revolution is kicking off, nothing bad will happen!

    I KNOW, RIGHT!? I was really hoping somebody would shout at him for this, but no. It was probably the honourable thing and therefore Not Stupid At All. Somehow.

    I LOVED Miss Pross - that scene with her and Madame Defarge, where they were just shouting at each other in different languages? Perfect.

  5. I have really struggled with this, to the point that I gave up before the end of book 2. I wonder if maybe this just wasn't the right time for it because I really thought elements of it were brilliant (Madame Defarge, mostly). It just didn't have that pull that I need to keep returning to the book. I'm glad you enjoyed it, you've definitely made me want to finish it! Thank you for hosting, it has been lovely reading all your thoughts :D