Dickens Five Best Novels
Top 5 Dickens Novels
These wonderful stories are my personal favorites of all the novels written by the Victorian author Charles Dickens. The list does not include the shorts stories such as the Christmas carol. Also I am not acting as a critical reviewer of plot, scene and literary perfectness. I am simply listing which novels gave me the most pleasure, and why.
Number Five: "Our Mutual Friend".
I believe this is my fifth favorite Dickens novel because it is the outlier. This book has a very different plot then many of Dickens novels. I really enjoyed the mystery, and the petty grasping. It has a terrific opening scene with a dark mysterious girl rowing the Thames with her brutal father in search of drowned bodies. Also the hero remains under different names until the very end. It doesn't have as much tragedy as some of Dickens works, but as a mystery novel it excels them all in my opinion.
Number Four: "Dombey and Son".
Dickens almost always used a poor orphan type of hero. In Dombey and son he improved on his generic style. He used a Girl whose wealthy father consistently ignored her in preference for his son. For some reason I admired this heroine to no end. The rest of the book is typical except for an exceptional scene with the second Mrs. Dombey. I like this book because an ignored daughter is much more compelling then an orphan. Another reason is that after much trial there is a very happy ending.
Number Three: "A Tale of Two Cities".
There is one big reason I love this book. It contains my all time favorite Dickens character. In my opinion Sydney Carton is one of the finest characters in Victorian literature. He is such a despicable sot for the whole book, wasting his brain and ruining his life with alcohol. In the end of the book though he shines like a light. It would take such courage to die for someone you don't really like. I do like the rest of the book too, especially how it is not quite as long as most of Dickens novels. The historical part of the novel is very deftly done as well.
Number Two: "Pickwick".
I enjoyed Pickwick so much because it is so diverse. The book is a little slow by modern standards, but it is so hilarious. It has such a huge array of characters, Weller, Snodgrass, Wardle, and so many more, and such a number of laughable situations. The funny thing is that the book doesn't have much of a plot. The charm of the book lies in its randomness. If you ever read Pickwick and watch him blunder around in all sorts of places making a lovable old fool of himself you will see why I placed this book second on the list.
Number One: "David Copperfield".
This book is my hands down favorite from Dickens. It is so easy to read, and has such lifelike characters. Agnes is a little too perfect, and Heep a little to bad, and Dora a little too silly, but they are so exciting to read about. David's story is so special partly because he is a semi autobiographical figure. Also, we get to see a very vivid picture of his childhood and youth. I must admit that some of the scenes are a little unlikely, but they are very effective nonetheless.
I enjoyed the rest of Dicken's works as well, especially the Christmas Carol. Most critics would place Great Expectations and probably Bleak House on my list. Why I did not is for another article.