Friday, August 12, 2011

Day 12- A book so emotionally draining you couldn’t complete it or had to set aside for a bit

I read this originally in high school and didn't "get" it. My high school English teacher, as I've mentioned before, felt I needed to be exposed to a wide variety of reading material. This, and Hard Times, were the two books of Dickens she recommended I read. I have no current recollection of Hard Times. I might not have any recollection of A Tale of Two Cities except I had to read David Copperfield, Bleak House and Great Expectations in college so I figured I'd reread this.

I owned a copy of A Tale of Two Cities so I could take my time reading it. Okay, it's about the problems with the French peasantry up to the French Revolution. There is no question Dickens is a good writer, but, boring. I had plowed through it in high school to move on to something else. Now, in college, I had the time to read and savor what I was reading.

There is a reason "classics" are so labeled. By the time I got to the third section of the book, I had bonded with Sydney Carton, Charles and Lucie Darnay and Dr. Manette. I was well aware of the ending but when Carton makes the decision to take Darnays place at the guillotine, I understood what he was doing.
It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to, than I have ever known.
I had to set the book down. There were only about 10 pages left but I couldn't read them at that time. Carton's sacrifice was too great. It would be almost a week before I picked the book back up and finished it. I remember telling a couple of people, "Now I know why this is considered a classic".

Beverage:  English Breakfast tea


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