Welcome to the Bleak House read-a-long! We’re reading this book through March, April, and May. You can see the reading schedule and guidelines on the Starting Post Page.
Week Thirteen: Read to The End
It’s always a bit sad to finish these longer Read-a-Longs. Finishing a story that has played a role in your life for three months is a little like saying goodbye to a friend (or friends). Turning the last page of Bleak House was a bittersweet thing for me. While relieved to have finished this tome, I have gotten very used to visiting with these characters and am sad to see them go.
It’s difficult to summarize a book of not only this length, but also with varying plots and an abundance of characters. It will have to suffice to say that I am pleased to have read it – and pleased that it was my first Dickens (not only because of the chart a few weeks back saying it is the most Dickensian of his novels, but also because it is exactly what I thought one of his novels would be like).
I think the ending may have been my favorite reading of all. Dickens sure does know how to wrap up a story. Thanks to those of you who set me straight last week – I missed the fact that Sir Leicester had a stroke. If I hadn’t had that pointed out to me, this week’s reading wouldn’t have been as touching as it was (extra points for reading with other people). Though it was sad to see Richard go (actually, it didn’t really feel very sad except for the very ending in which he says goodbye to Jarndyce), many had already predicted it would happen. I’m a bit surprised at how tidily much of the loose ends tied up. The not so great characters got theirs. The great characters ended well (except for Jo, of course, but that was weeks ago). I had somewhat guessed that Jarndyce would surprise Esther by connecting her with Woodcourt – but I still enjoyed the way it was done. And I enjoy the neat as a bow way that Dickens then pushed Jarndyce into the father role for them all (and gave Esther the support of a family and a happy marriage, with two little girls!). I even enjoyed the revenge gotten on Mr. Guppy. (Oh, Mr. Guppy, what were you thinking??)
Perhaps my favorite ending was that of Sir Leicester and Mr. Boythorn – if only because it seemed the cleverest. What a subtle and wonderful way to show that sometimes those relationships that bother us so much in real life are a necessary tie to another person that we actually need. And to come full circle with these two men (who had both suffered by the loss of sisters, none-the-less!) was very satisfying.
The only part I wonder about is why Dickens chose to end it the way he did… as if Esther was in the middle of her sentence. Any thoughts on that?
So, my friends, what didi you think? Thank you so much for reading along with me! I had a fantastic time discussing this book with you all – congratulations for making it through! Those of you reading On the Road, sign ups will be up on Monday. Enjoy this week of no reading, and I’ll see you at the beginning of June.
I figured we could answer these questions one last time for the book overall…
- Favorite character of the book? Mr. Jarndyce. After reading the book in it’s entirety I can honestly say I love him best. What a good, good man.
- Least favorite character of the book? Mr. Skimpole, far and away the worst.
- Most confusing part of the book? I’d have to say Sir Leicester’s stroke – I don’t know how, but I fully managed to miss that he had had one.
- Best passage of the book? I’m pretty sure I couldn’t pick. But from this last week – “As little does he think how near together he and his antagonist have suffered, in the fortunes of two sisters; and his antagonist, who knows it now, is not the man to tell him. So the quarrel goes on to the satisfaction of both.”
- Nomination for overall ‘Hypocrite of the Week Award’? I’m actually going to say Volumina. She was always trying to be something she wasn’t (and important person).
Who’s Reading Along:
** Please don’t forget to come to this blog each Friday and share your thoughts in the comments section of the weekly Bleak House discussion (see below for more information).**
- If you are participating and I don’t have you on this list, please let me know in the comments section. I did not include people who said ‘maybe’ so if you have changed your mind and are definitely reading along with us, let me know so I can add you. Also, if you are not going to be able to join us anymore please let me know and I will take you off the list.
- Comments from the previous week’s reading will be closing Thursday afternoon (before the next discussion takes place on Friday). If you would like to be part of the discussion, please remember to comment before then.
- Each week, on Friday, share your thoughts about the previous week’s reading. If you are stuck on what to comment about, you can respond to my post or others’ comments. Regardless, you MUST check in each week (two weeks without a response and you will be taken off of the list — see below for details on why). You may have only one “off week” (which may not be the last week of reading for obvious reasons) and still be kept on the list, but you must let me know in the comment section by saying something like, “I’m catching up,” or “I’m still reading.” ***for all week’s discussions please refrain from posting ahead, even if you have read ahead, as to not spoil the book for others***
- If you are a blogger you may post a link to your blog if you are posting about each of the each week’s reading. If I, or other readers, have extra time we will gladly try to visit your blog; however, you must make sure to share your thoughts here on this blog, and be part of the main conversation or your comment will not be counted.
- If you go for two weeks without commenting in my weekly update comments section, I will assume you are no longer participating and will take you off of the list (*NEW GUIDELINE*, in order to get back onthe list, you need to a.) Have missed no more than two weeks of discussion, b.) Let me know you would like to be on the list again, and c.) consistently be part of the discussion for the next two weeks after requesting to be put back on the list.). This is in no way to be discouraging, but helps to keep the read-a-long organized (and helps me remember who’s completed what read-a-long…there (ahem) might be something fun for different levels of participants at the end of the year! Thanks!