I read several Dickens books when I was quite young and intend to revisit them at some point as an adult. Dombey and Son was not one of them and I’m giving preference at the moment to books on my ‘to-read’ list.
I tried Bleak House first and thankfully didn’t allow that to put me off reading another of Dickens’ books. Dombey and Son reminded me far more of Barnaby Rudge in many ways.
The storyline was enjoyable and easy to follow (unlike Bleak House) but it’s still a slog of a read due to Dickens’ intense way of writing, it can become quite wearisome at times. Bearing in mind it takes me roughly a day to read one 450-500 page book this took me 5 days of almost solid reading to get through. For that reason it loses a star.
However, that aside it is a masterpiece of a novel. It is a novel about pride before a fall and follows the Dombey family mainly. Mr Paul Dombey owns some kind of counting house from what I understood and cares only that his son also named Paul Dombey should inherit the business of Dombey and Son as Mr Dombey did from his father and so on and so forth. Meanwhile his daughter Florence is wholly rejected and unloved mostly because she is a girl. Running parallel as side stories are the tales of Walter Gay a young worker at Mr Dombey’s firm and his uncle Solomon Gill and their eccentric friend Captain Cuttle who is an extremely amusing character. There is also Miss Tox a friend of Mrs Chic (Dombey’s sister), the Toodles who are introduced when Mrs Toodle (renamed Mrs Richards) comes to work as nurse for young Paul and Old Misses Brown. There are several other characters who come in with their own stories later on but I’ll not say as I don’t want to include spoilers!
I found the novel to be very engaging overall. Despite its length I didn’t feel encouraged to give up on it like I did with Bleak House. It’s much more simpler in its writing and understanding and there aren’t too many characters to try and get your head around. I had a pretty good idea of how the story would play out for most of the characters and I was right in the end but it didn’t make it any less satisfactory.
4* rating overall