Audible has given me the chance to fall in love with Dickens. I have now listened to all the great novels, my favorites being Our Mutual Friend and David Copperfield, but I have loved them all. I hesitated to download The Pickwick Papers, fearing that it would be too silly and tarnish my admiration for his wit and wisdom. But I didn't have many more Dickens titles left, and I love David Timson as a narrator, so I took a chance. It took me a long time to settle into the book -- indeed there are many silly characters and events and many digressions, and it took a while for Dickens to develop those characters that I always fall in love with -- the truly good people who are kind and generous in a selfish and often grim world. Dickens tries out lots of themes that dominate his later, great, novels -- ghost stories (including a Christmas tale), debtor's prison, the legal profession (scoundrels almost all), alcoholism, tight-fisted businessmen who treat their progeny badly, political battles, the gullability and venality of humankind, and so much more. There are some truly joyous moments and characters -- the wedding banquet followed by the Christmas eve celebration was marvelous, Sam Weller (Veller) and his hysterical father, and of course Mr. Pickwick himself. Stick with the early chapters and you'll be well-rewarded.
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