Bleak House Readalong I-XI [DNF]

First things first, I was not able to reach chapter eleven. I made it up to chapter 4.

I struggled with deciding to continue this book just to finally get through it or  just dnf it. I decided to dnf it. Here are my reasons:

  1. All the characters are bland.I have read David Copperfield  and Oliver Twist so I expect a vast amount of characterization in the characters. I expect that if anyone should get pages upon pages of back story it should at least be the main character. That did not happen however. Esther got maybe a chapter on a bit of her lifet story and that is it. This chapter was not a chapter that sold her character to me.Esther reminded me of Jane Eyre and a bit of David Copperfield. Except Jane and David had personalities. I heard that Charles Dickens based Esther off of Jane Eyre, he felt that Jane Eyre was not thankful enough. Looking at this the way the character is structured Esthers personality makes sense. He just took all the personality and what makes Jane, Jane Eyre out.  Readers get to see Janes struggles and understand her strife. Esther we just get a chapter and her personality is so thin that I honestly don’t see it. I kept hearing that Charles Dickens cannot write women characters and I had not experienced it so I did not believe it. I can really see it with this book. It really makes me angry because he gave so much to his other characters but did not give anything to hold onto to this one. I think Charlotte Bronte  herself sums up my issues with Esther “…weak and twaddling ; amiable nature is caricatured, not faithfully rendered…”  If his characters from Bleak House were just problematic that would have been possibly okay  but they have the audacity to be boring as well, no.
  2. The Story is bland too. I honestly do not know what is exactly going on but I do not care that much.
  3. My resolve not to finish books that I know I will not enjoy. I kind of struggled a bit with deciding to let this book go. I felt that because he was one of my favorite authors I needed to get through this book. That reading through this book like a good soldier was getting things done. Then when that thought crossed my mind it seemed like I was doing a chore. I thought at one point, if this was any other author I would dnf and never read the authors books again. I cannot in good conscience allow myself to finish a book that I do not like that is this big just because the author is one of my favorite authors. I could be reading any other books that is interesting and makes me excited to read it. I could be reading Les Miserables or one of the other 20+ classic books I have. I have too many books left to read  that I own and don’t own to waste on this book. It is too much to read 900+ pages just to give it a don’t like.

It seriously bothers me that so many people are going to read this listening to how so many count this as a favorite, not like it  and most likely never read a Charles Dickens ever again.  This is not Charles Dickens best by far.  Bleak House is not my last novel by Charles Dickens definitely. I just am hoping this is not one of those trends were the rest of his books suck too.



Author: themollyweather

I like to read, a lot.

6 thoughts on “Bleak House Readalong I-XI [DNF]”

  1. That’s a bummer that you abandoned ship at Chapter 4, because I thought it got much stronger from that point on. In fact, I think that’s usually just the case with longer books…character and plot development are a slow buildup.

    This is my first Dickens, and I’m pleasantly surprised by how much I like it. You’re right about female characters not being his strong suit (read Wilkie Collins for Dickensian writing with strong female characters), but I find there’s SO much more to it than that. (And Esther is increasing in character depth with every turn of the page.) There’s also quite a bit more humor than I expected. So if I’m any indication of first-time Dickens readers, there’s no need to worry about Bleak House ruining anything for anyone.


    1. It is hard to tell how a long book will go for me. I really enjoyed Gone with the Wind at the beginning but towards the middle the book was hard to get through. Ultimately, I just couldn’t find anything to make want to keep going with this book. In consequence of my past reading experiences I have become impatient with my reading. Most of the time for me there is no reward or big moment that makes a book I’m not into worth it. I want the interesting good stuff right now versus later. I don’t want to read 100 pages just to feel something.

      I had to think after I posted my post that Bleak House is considered his best work. My opinion is the minority. I’m happy that you like Charles Dickens because he is really a great writer. I think a major part of my dnf is I read David Copperfield and a lot of other four start at the least classic books last year. David Copperfield was amazing. I really fell in love with the story after chapter 2. I cared for his character and story.


  2. Oh, but I’m with you regarding Jane Eyre vs Esther. I’m hoping it’s a slow build, though, leading to someone more interesting than Esther as of chapter 8 (I didn’t make it to chapter 11 either). I’ll be keeping with it, though, partly to say I’ve read it, partly (largely) because of the folks in this readalong, and partly because there have been bits of writing that hint at something I might enjoy, you know? I’m not hooked by the book itself yet, but I have an inkling I might be. But good for you for saying “You know what? No,” to a book your thoroughly not enjoying. It’s freeing, right?


    1. I felt bad dnfing a book after starting a readalong, I debated continuing even posting this post. I decided to post this because I already signed up for the readalong so it would be weird if I just didn’t post. I did come into this book thinking I would like it. David Copperfield was one of the top ten best books I read last year. My dnfing it goes really into where my reading is right now. I just can’t rationalize finishing Bleak House just because he is one of my favorite authors. Part of my dnf is from being a part of the 100 book challenge. I can’t rationalize finishing a book just to say I read it now. If I don’t enjoy a book early on I am dnfing it. Dnfing Bleak House is freeing because I can move on to another classic book. Right now, I am trying to figure what book that is.


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