Ackroyd is one of those writers who is passionate and knowledgable without ever being dull. Having read his biography of London years ago, I was a fan, and after completing the last few books by Dickens last year that I hadn’t already read, I thought it was time to read a biography, and was delighted to find that Peter Ackroyd had written one.
And from the first page, I wasn’t disappointed. I read the first six chapters in one sitting, and could barely get out of bed the next morning from staying up too late. Dickens himself led a varied and interesting life, the kind of rags to riches story that informed his writing, and it is thought drove him to become a workaholic, afraid of going backwards into poverty.
Here, we are introduced to his restless spirit, his literary friends, his exploits, and a man who was an emblem of his time. In some ways, it feels as though Ackroyd finds Dickens hard to relate too, although fascinating, often pointing out that he is “odd” or was considered to be so. Perhaps this is the case, and it doesn’t detract from the book at all, which is excellent, but it did leave me feeling a bit sorry for the desperately hard working, often lonely figure of Dickens. It think perhaps he was just a free spirit, ahead if his time in that respect.
Read it if: you’ve ever wanted to know more about the life and loves of Dickens, or if you love a well researched book about the Victorian era. You won’t be disappointed.
If you’re interested in reading my reviews of Dickens works, you can find The Mystery Of Edwin Drood by Charles Dickens, Hard Times by Charles Dickens and Dombey and Son by Charles Dickens by clicking.
Or if you’d like to know ore about the fascinating Charles Dickens Museum in London, click HERE.