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Book Report: Alton Locke

Your Humble Blogger started Alton Locke full of hope and whatsit; I can’t say I knew anything much about the book or Charles Kingsley, the author, but it is a Victorian Novel that deals with industrialization, religion and litchrachoor. Alas, I did not like it. In point of fact, I did not finish it. I left off shortly before halfway.

There’s a comment about Charles Dickens that seems appropriate here: Some insightful critic (perhaps it was Stephen Fry) observed that there is so much Charles Dickens in every one of his books that if you don’t like him, you can’t like the books. There he is, on every page. He doesn’t get out of the way and let you like or dislike the characters, or the plot, or the setting. He thrusts himself forward in his authorial voice and insists that you like (or dislike) Charles Dickens. Now, I like Charles Dickens, so there’s that, but I do see some truth in it.

Unfortunately, I don’t like Charles Kingsley. I’m not saying he is wrong, politically or sociologically; I think he is much on the better side of the stuff he was talking about. I just very quickly tired of him talking about it. I found myself constantly wishing that it was Charles Dickens, not Charles Kingsley, who had crafted some particular rant against Sabbatarianism or the piecework system or the aristocracy. Probably it was the lack of leavening humor, although it wouldn’t shock me greatly to find that fans of Mr. Kingsley find that he is funny, or at least witty. I didn’t. Ah, well.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,