I'm not quite at the stage where I'm ready to say 'Dickens! I loves him!' but I absolutely did not hate reading these first 11 chapters of Bleak House, and that is in itself, quite the achievement. I'll admit that the first couple of chapters I was kind of like 'Chancery whatnow?' and also 'the fuck is going on?' but once we got to Esther and her narrative, I was alllll over it.
Esther is completely in love with Ada.
Well, that's pretty much everything I had to say about this section, OR IS IT? (It sort of is, but I'm going to say some more things anyway). Let's do some bullet points just to be on the safe side:
- I'm not sure how I feel about the third person narrative bits yet. Or, actually, I am sure, and it's mostly 'Get back to the real story and stop being Victor Hugo-ish about this, Dickens' but I'm pretty sure they're kind of important parts so I'll try to pay better attention to them next time.
- Local interest! (For me, anyway) Esther moves from Windsor to Reading when her Godmother dies, and heyyy, I've been to both of those places! That's not a recommended move, though, I have to warn you, because Windsor is lovely (it has a castle!) and Reading is... Not so much.
- Dickens is the best at naming people ever. Mr Guppy, Mrs Jellyby, Mrs Pardiggle, Mr Turveydrop... And we're only 11 chapters in!
- Speaking of Mr Guppy... I was incredibly secondhand embarrassed for him during the whole proposal debacle (of course Esther isn't going to marry him, she loves another...) but I really felt for Esther with this: "I was in a flutter for a while and felt as if an old chord had been more coarsely touched than it had ever been." Because, because, it's difficult for her to reject love since she's known so little of it, but she can't just be like 'OK dude, I'll marry you' because that would be dishonest and make her sadder but hmph. Bad.
- I looooove Mr Jarndyce, and I love the fact that Esther thinks he's going to jump out of the window any time anyone is nice to him. I just... What a lovely man! I want to hug him and kiss him but if I did he'd probably jump through a closed door so yes. I'll just keep that one to myself.
- I found the brickmaker's speech unintentionally hilarious. He's all like 'yep, we suck, now leave us alone, woman!' I'm especially fond of "I've been drunk for three days, and I'd a been drunk four, if I'd a had the money." Wouldn't we all?
- I was fairly freaked out by the laying of the dead baby on a shelf. Because what?! That's a thing? But also, you know,
So yeah! Bleak House, we're getting on pretty well. Long may it continue.