Nicholas Nickleby

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Left penniless by the death of his father, nineteen-year-old Nicholas Nickleby seeks help, along with his mother and sister, from Uncle Ralph Nickleby. The hard-hearted money lender takes an instant dislike to his nephew and gets rid of the boy by securing him a teaching position at Dotheboys Hall, where the evil Wackford Squeers presides. Horrified by the barbarity he sees there, Nicholas defies Squeers and is forced to flee. He is joined by Smike, who has been treated cruelly by Squeers, and the two become great friends. ...

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Leslie

May 14, 2011

Very Long, With Lots of Characters

I adored this book. Yes, it's long, with lots of characters, and plots, and side trips. But it's got delicious villainy in it, and equally delicious come-uppances, and unlikely heroes, and humor, and fun, and pathos.

Wonderfully memorable characters will get under your skin and stay with you forever. Who will ever forget Smike, and think of him without choking up just a little? Or Sir Mulberry Hawke, and thinking of him without a shiver of disgust? Or the Squeerses, and think of them without wanting to laugh and puke all at the same time? Or Newman Noggs, and think of him without cheering his heroism?

I've already written that Our Mutual Friend is my favorite Dickens novel. This comes a very, very close second. But be sure to get an edition (like the New Oxford Illustrated Dickens series) that comes with a list of characters, so you can keep them straight -- you'll need it!

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