The Final Recollections of Charles Dickens by Thomas Hauser seemed a good continuation of the literary list of books I’ve been reading. This is a great primer for anyone looking to come up to speed on Dickens and how he in his youth came to understand the plight of the common man and then to write about that situation so magnificently and so effectively. Dickens’ work is very responsible for many social changes in London and beyond. Hauser has jettisoned us away to young Dickens’ world and we see him learning, observing, recording, and doing something about the poor living and working and schooling conditions of the common man. Oh and it is a fun story woven here for us, especially us so taken by the man, the writer Charles Dickens. It’s fiction, it’s fantasy but about a real man. His early work as a reporter allows him that access and that platform to publish and this is how he begins writing his sketches.
A clever example showing us how Dickens may have acquired his knowledge happens when he and his wife, Catherine, are invited to Geoffrey Wingate’s house for dinner. The dinner conversation becomes electric with talk of class, the divide between rich and poor, and finally how the host’s wife, Amanda, and Dickens agree against the rest in a bordering on contentious discussion. However, many of Dickens’ future characters and ideas emerge in this discussion.
The real treat for me and this book is the purported love affair he has with Amanda, “worthy of love.”