Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Hard Times

Man, I can't believe how long it has been since I last posted. Time flies! I have been quite busy here....we had our church family camp on the weekend. It was a lot of fun with a great group of people....we had some excellent teaching on relationships - with God, within the Church and with your family.

I have been reading though! I have a stack of books in front of me to review, but I will tackle just one at a time. I read my first Charles Dickens recently Hard Times - which quite literally expresses how I found reading it (LOL). Nonetheless I am glad I perserved because I feel like I achieved something by completing it.

Hard Times is set in an imaginary mid-Victorian town called Coketown. The town is full of polluting factories and downtrodden workers. There resides a Mr Gradgrind - a strict utilitarian who believes in facts and only facts. If you can't prove it, he doesn't want to know about it. There is no room with him for feelings or emotions. He brings his children up in the environment - to their eventual detriment.

Mr Gradgrind's best friend is Mr Bounderby (an unredeemably awful character). Mr Bounderby believes that every worker desires to be fed "turtle soup and venison with a gold spoon" and he treats them terribly (particularly the loyal Stephen ). Mr Gradgrind marries off his daughter Louisa to Mr Bounderby and, not surprisingly, the marriage is a terribly unhappy one. Louisa falls in love with a Mr Harthouse causing her great angst.

Anyhow I should say that Mr Gradgrind is a reformed character by the end of the novel and I actually grew to quite like him. All in all, though I didn't enjoy the tone of the book (it was jolly miserable for the most part) the story is quite interesting. My Dad has suggested I tackle A Tale of Two Cities next, as he says it is the most readable Dickens - any thoughts?


  1. Church camp sounds fun - annoyingly, I'm missing one for my age group this weekend, as I'm graduating(!)

    Hard Times was my first Dickens, I did it at A Level, and I LOVED it. It helped that I had a very funny English teacher who was able to bring out all the humour in HT - I found it hilarious. Have read a few other Dickens since, but HT still my favourite. I must re-read soon.

  2. How annoying for you, all this spam - I got loads until I set up the word verification bit on blogger.