"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..." One of the best known beginnings to a novel in English literature (even if upon hearing the first paragraph read aloud the gang at Cheers responded that " Boy, this Dickens guy really liked to keep his butt covered, didn't he? ")
Many ears ago (Grade 6?) we read an abridged version of this book at school. This summer I thought it was time to read the original. And so I knew the basic story line. I knew how it would end. ANd I had heard the final sentences (though to be honest I tend to also hear how Frasier Crane adapted those sentences in the episode named above).
Really this is a love story. Of a sort. It is a story set in the midst of social turmoil but not about the social turmoil. Sure Dicken's politico-social sensibilities flood through the descriptions and the plot lines but that is not, in the end what the novel is about. It is about love, a variety of loves, and the sacrifice that love can cause.
Some novels deserve to be read generations after they were written. This is one of them.