This read-a-long is hosted by Wallace at Unputdownables.
We did it! Three months and 822 pages later, we finished our reading of Bleak House.
In the last few chapters, Chuck ties up all the loose ends that he created over the hundreds of pages. With so many characters, there are numerous story lines to attend to before closing the novel. For this reason, I’m not going to do my regular run down of notes because I don’t want to give it all away (I’m looking at you, kids, who find my blog through searches for book plots. Do your homework!).
What I will say is that Chuck is a masterful writer who, although a bit verbose at times, knew how to weave one hell of a tale. The back stories that he provides for all the characters, even the most seemingly insignificant of them, allow him to create a rich narrative while developing his characters almost effortlessly.
Esther, in particular, won me over in the end. She annoyed me throughout most of the novel, but she is one of the characters who grew the most. The Esther in the end of the book was a completely different woman than the little girl who started her narrative in one of the first few chapters. Not only did she grow, but her development seemed organic.
I will say that I am happy with the end of the novel. The plot points that needed to be hit were fulfilled and Chuck had me guessing what was going to happen up until the last two or three pages. In fact, “Esther, you’re killing me!” is one of the last notes I have written in the margins before Chuck starts to wrap things up.
The only thing that has left me a bit confused is why Guppy renewed his proposal and whether or not he was serious. This detail doesn’t affect the storyline at all, so it’s not really a spoiler, but it is something that bothered me. If anyone has an explanation, do tell!
Although it was long and difficult to get through at times, I am very glad to say that I have read Bleak House. I learned a lot about Chuck, about the Victorian era, and about what makes great writing so, well, great. I hope to see everyone at the next read-a-long! Wallace is hosting On the Road during June and July and I’m looking forward to the change of pace. From the Victorians to the Beats, should be fun!