Hard TimesHard Times by Charles Dickens
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

ha! ha! the cheek of giving Charles Dickens four stars. i feel positively churlish.

this refers to the audiobook edition, by the way.

what happens when your education pounds your imagination into dust? what happens when logic and reason refuse to let wonder out to play? this book is a rather frightening story of just what that gets you (should be required reading for all those promoters of standardized testing out there).

but alas, it does die hard with a vengeance on the whole industrial revolution thing. one common criticism of Dickens’ writing is that he failed to imagine any way out of poverty except by inheritance–that he could see poverty, and to some extent the rise of a middle class, but couldn’t really imagine any way out of the conflicts inherent in capitalism.

it seems rather hard to criticize him for it–nobody else has to this day, either–but still, it is a failure in a book concerning a mill town to have no real exploration of working conditions for the poor.

so ha! take that, chuckie! i’ve removed one of your stars! i’ve no doubt this affront will cause his soul to rise up from its gilded alabaster chair in literary heaven and come toss thunderbolts my way. not. nothin’ but love for the Dickens-man.

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