I abandoned Dickens, leaving his books languishing on the bookshelves gathering dust and turned my mind to easier, lighter books which required less effort to read. And I forgot all about him.
Then, Mum started to read Bleak House to Charlotte and me. Sitting on the sofa with nothing to distract me from the words falling from Mum's lips, I was sucked into the world of Bleak House. The many, varied characters and their enthralling actions held me captive. The vivid descriptions, spanning pages and pages, brought the world to life.
Our daily readings battered at my former idea of Dickens. Maybe he wasn't so hard to read. Maybe I just wasn't trying hard enough to understand and enjoy his books. Maybe I should try again, give him one last chance.
Before I even touched a book however, I received an unexpectedly nice birthday present. The BBC's Little Dorrit mini series.
After hearing this series praises sung, I was eager to start watching it. And it did not disappoint. The end of every episode left me begging for and craving more. I hardly wanted to stop watching to go to bed each night.
The moment we finished the mini series, I wanted to read the book. Surely, to make a series that good you had to have an amazing book to start with.
And so I picked up Little Dorrit. I fully expected it to be quite different from the series. After all, adaptations are nearly always drastically different from their source books.
Imagine my surprise when the book and the movie stuck close together. I read whole speeches and remembered them from the mini series. Whole scenes, almost perfectly recreated, waved at me from the mini series. And the characters! In my head they went through every action, spoke every speech, and showed every emotion in full colour while I was reading, almost exactly like I had seen them in the mini series.
Little Dorrit amazed me at every turn. Thanks to the movie I understand the book so much better. And, thanks to the book, I understand the movie much better.
Charles Dickens and I may have got off on the wrong foot. We may not have had such a happy relationship up to now. But, thanks to the BBC and Little Dorrit, I may finally be finding the love of Charles Dickens that every good reader should know.