Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Losing money on Dickens

When I was 15, I was on a Louisa May Alcott kick. Read everything of hers I could get my hands on: Little Women (was re-reading it at that point), Little Men, Eight Cousins, Rose in Bloom, and Jo's Boys.

My mom was happy I was reading Alcott, since she herself had been quite a fan, too. She told me, though, that she would be more impressed if I started making my way through Dickens, her absolute favorite writer. I, on the other hand, hated Dickens. The plots of the books I'd read at that point, Great Expectations and Oliver Twist, were plodding and predictable. Once you know that Dickens was the "Melrose Place" of his day, you can pretty much figure out the "twists and turns." Anyway, my mom knew that I hated Dickens when she suggested that it would really be something if I read his complete works.

Being the conceited and idiotic teenager that I was, I made a bet with my mom. I bet her $100 that I would read the complete works of Dickens (which she owned and would happily lend me) by the time I was 30.

For a while there, I made good progress. Through the remainder of high school I polished off a few books. But in college, I managed to get through just one or two. And then I just scrapped it.

My mom never reminded me of the bet. I just thought about it the other day, even though my deadline has passed. I figure it's kind of silly to pay my mom $100 now. I think I'll just take her out for a nice dinner somewhere, have some expensive wine.

We can discuss all the books neither one of us has time to read.

For the record, these are the (excrutiating) books by Dickens I managed to cross off the list:
  • A Christmas Carol

  • A Tale of Two Cities

  • Bleak House (ugh, did that take forfuckingever)

  • David Copperfield

  • Great Expectations

  • Hard Times

  • Nicholas Nickleby

  • Oliver Twist

18 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"It was the best of times, it was the BLURST of times??!!"

"I think it's remarkable I wrote anything!"

10:31 PM, August 10, 2005  
Blogger Blog writer said...

i *hate* his bks too! except for * A Tale Of Two Cities* ( Ofcourse i read teh abridged version lol!) never could finish off David Copperfield so that was my last truy at dickens!
As far as classics go, I'm all for *Gone With The Wind*

2:02 AM, August 11, 2005  
Blogger ccw said...

Well, that's 7 more than me.

2:15 AM, August 11, 2005  
Blogger Gina said...

I cannot imagine having to read the entire collection of his works. I don't hate Dickens, but slogging through his novels is not my idea of a good time.

I absolutely loathe James Joyce. I would gladly pay money NOT to ever have to read him again.

2:16 AM, August 11, 2005  
Anonymous Beanie Baby said...

I have to admit that I love Dickens.

But I suppose the world is big enough to house a Dickens-hater or two. *sigh*

7:05 AM, August 11, 2005  
Blogger Songbird said...

Hey, A Christmas Carol is not excruciating!

9:42 AM, August 11, 2005  
Anonymous Genevieve said...

How about you now go and read the rest of Alcott that you haven't read (assuming that you listed all that you've read, which may not be right)? Jack and Jill, An Old-Fashioned Girl, Under the Lilacs . . .

9:58 AM, August 11, 2005  
Anonymous Running2Ks said...

That's how I feel about Melville.

10:03 AM, August 11, 2005  
Blogger Yankee T said...

I loved Great Expectations, A Christmas Carol. The rest? Ugh.

10:07 AM, August 11, 2005  
Blogger liz said...

The only one I liked and finished was A Christmas Carol. All the others? Bleah.

10:18 AM, August 11, 2005  
Blogger Phantom Scribbler said...

Never trust a writer that was paid by the word. That's my motto.

10:28 AM, August 11, 2005  
Blogger halloweenlover said...

Ha! I think you should remind her and see what she says. Tell her you have paid her ten fold with AB. He is priceless.

11:17 AM, August 11, 2005  
Anonymous KathyR said...

I love Dickens. Still, never made it through Bleak House. My hat's off to you there.

12:00 PM, August 11, 2005  
Blogger SuzanH said...

Dickens? Crap.

Couldn't even finish Great Expectations for an assignment in high school.

12:32 PM, August 11, 2005  
Blogger Angry Pregnant Lawyer said...

Genevieve, I like the idea of reading Alcott again. Of course, I need to get through those books I (and you) have on the nightstand first!

Blog writer, welcome to the blog. Loved GWTW--Melanie kicked ass.

Gina, I can't stand Joyce's novels (once upon a time and a very good time it was there was a moocow....ARG!), but his short stories in "The Dubliners" were really good.

4:19 PM, August 11, 2005  
Blogger RussianViolets said...

I've had a hard time with Dickens as well -- Bleak House was probably the hardest for me. I've set myself the goal of reading the Dickens canon by the time I'm 40. So, I have 9.5 years to go. And in my field, I kind of have to read him. But I do find the predictable plot twists kind of Scooby-Doo-esque.

5:54 PM, August 11, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Angry Pregnant Lawyer. You know what? I think you owe your mom 100 bucks. Sure, maybe your mom shouldn't have let you bet the big bucks, you being a kid and all. On the other hand, teens are pretty autonomous. When you made the bet, I bet you meant it. Your young self probably had every confidence that you would kick your mom's ass and read all those books by the time you were 30. Your young self might think she owed the $100. Just a thought! I enjoyed the post. :)

-An anonymous reader, who owes her mother thousands of dollars

9:15 PM, August 12, 2005  
Blogger Angry Pregnant Lawyer said...

Oh, believe me, I'll offer. But I know my mom. I have to fight with her to pay for anything (she'll always see me as the kid), so I doubt she'd take $100 in cold cash. However, if I offered to take her out for a really nice dinner, which would cost at least $100, I think she could be convinced.

11:02 PM, August 12, 2005  

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