I really struggled with this book throughout February but I’m glad I finished it. Apparently, this is an abridged version of the original text. As it runs to 570 pages I’d hate to see the original!
Ackroyd provides a blow-by-blow account of Dickens’ life from cradle to grave. He also includes quite a lot of analysis of Dickens’ writing and tries to show how the author’s life shaped his work. There were times when I felt he made rather a large leap from known fact to supposition and didn’t back up his theory with much evidence. I think this bothered me more because the book reads like an academic text and I, therefore, expected the content to live up to that standard.
In all, this is an interesting, if heavy, book which does exactly what it says on the tin.
(Reviewed 6th March 2009)