Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Happy Birthday Charles Dickens

Google Doodle for 7th February 2012
I adore Charles Dickens, have done since my childhood.  He's such an amazing story teller; his characters are effervescent and real and he manages to paint pictures of Victorian England which shine through the decades and centuries.

For me it all started with the 1968 film version of Oliver Twist.  This film was on the TV all the time as I was growing up, I knew every line, every song and every nuance of the whole thing.  It was something marvellous and special to me.  I reckon I cried every time and yet I knew that it would all work out OK.

I had an old set of the Dickens books, I can't remember whether they were at Granny's house and I read them there or whether we had them at home, but they had that musty smell and I loved to read them.  Of course I started with Oliver Twist and then read the Christmas Carol, Little Dorrit and The Pickwick Papers I think.

I remember scaring myself by reading The Christmas Carol and then falling in love with the 1984 film (no one else likes it) which was no where near as bad as my imagination made the words in the book.

I won a prize for creative writing in my first year of secondary school and asked the school for the book of The Old Curiorsity Shop; I've still got it on my shelves with the pasted in prize certificate.  It was a special thing to receive.

Over the years I've read all of Dickens' Novels at least once, possibly every one twice.  They're as new today as they were when I first read them, in fact they might even have improved as life experience helps me better understand what Charles was trying to portray.

200 years ago today Charles Dickens was born and yet if you gave any one of his books to someone who'd never read anything of his they would accept it as fabulous new fiction.  As full of mystery and truth and lessons for life now as they have been for nearly two centuries.

Happy Birthday Mr Dickens and thank you.

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