I loved this book and am now proud to proclaim myself a Pickwickian!! For years I shied away from Dickens and his novels. But a few years ago I began with A Tale of Two Cities and loved it, despite its overuse of commas and semi-colons! So I decided to give Dickens a try and bought the first five of his novels in paperback form and his entire collection on Kindle. For a year the books just sat on the shelf and stared at me, as did books by Victor Hugo and Dumas. I kept saying I was going to start reading Dickens and finally the time came. The Pickwick Papers became my summer reading, as it is a easy book to put down and read others in between, but as time wore on Pickwick’s adventures claimed more of my time until about 4 days ago I decided the time had come to finish it before Autumn began and I have accomplished that!!
This is Dickens first novel and you can really see the serialized nature of the book as 2-3 chapters were published in his monthly paper. It is a humorous book with many passages causing me to laugh out loud. His characters are great and they are an oddball variety of people who either go with or whom he meets on his two-year trek to discover England. Pickwick had been a rather unwordly person, and who sees the world though almost child-like eyes. Good-hearted and always ready to see the best in everyone, this book is a collection of events during his travels.
It is early Dickens but you can already see the keen eye he casts upon so many aspects of British life and society. You can see his disdain for lawyers, his shocking descriptions of debtors prison, his portrayal of doctors all in this book. Yet, wherever he goes he finds an adventure. Probably the weakest parts of the book, for me, is when he throws in totally unrelated tales that he hears of things that have absolutely nothing to do with the book. Some are good but many are just so-so and I could have done without. My favorite of these stories was of the Goblins that stole a Sexton and was related on Christmas Eve. Good story. There are loads of fun and funny characters, there are many scenes that make you just want to laugh out loud until the very last page where we are left with an elderly Pickwick now living in London. It was with a tear that I finished this book, as I felt I had made friends with Mr. Pickwick and his fellow travelers and companions. But it also put me in a mood to read more Dickens, including A Christmas Carol which I have yet to read in my 63 years here on earth. And so I come to the end of this review and give a hale and hearty cheer to my good friend Samuel Pickwick, I will never forget you or your adventures and you have kindled in my heart and spirit a feeling of goodness and revelry that has been missing for the past few years. Farewell Pickwick, we part as friends and say goodbye all the while knowing that you have added one more loyal and dedicated member to The Pickwick Society. Friends and Pickwickians to the end!!