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Showing 1-10 of 148 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 223 reviews
on February 29, 2012
The first half of this book was a bit of a tough slog, and were it not for the fact that I had it on excellent authority that I was in for a treat, I would have been tempted to give up. The pace picked up considerably at the start of section 3, though. This book has a little bit of everything to please an array of tastes. There are unsavory, disreputable characters (which Dickens did so well), the ridiculous and self-important who are worthy of nothing but contempt, and kind and honorable characters. There is mystery, murder, greed, romance, jealousy, betrayal, and it is all topped off with a thoroughly satisfying ending.

I chose this particular edition over the myriad of others that are available because it included an introduction by Nick Hornby, whose books I love. Sadly, I could have done without Mr. Hornby's introduction. After disparaging many contemporary writers (and there are many out there who may feel rightly so, but I don't feel the was the appropriate forum to voice this opinion), he then went on to state ". . . it is only fair to warn you that Our Mutual Friend - his last completed novel - is in the opinion of many, including this writer, far from his best." Perhaps the publishers should have looked a little harder to find someone who actually likes and respects the novel to write an introduction, rather than go with a popular writer who clearly does not.

Also included in this edition was a list of characters and some charming illustrations. I don't know if the list of characters is standard in all editions, but I found it invaluable as I read the first half of the book. Trying to keep track of something like two dozen principal characters while trying to follow the story would have been near impossible for me without this tool.

So let me sum up my rating: 5 stars for the work by Dickens, and 1 star for the introduction by Nick Hornby.
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on December 31, 2013
It was a little difficult to get started in this book. I put it down a few times but my son kept telling me to push through the beginning. This was my first Charles Dickens novel. I am so glad I did because I never wanted it to end. Now I understand why he is considered to be one of the greatest writers. When you are reading the book, you cannot beleive that someone has put the words together in such a way. I loved the writing, the structure, the characters and the plot. While the plot kept me reading on, I knew I would be sad to reach the end. I look forward to reading some of his other novels but I am also very tempted to reread this one so I can enjoy it on an entirely different level.
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on March 19, 2014
I love Dickens! And, I thoroughly enjoyed this audio edition of the book; the reader was fantastic with his many voices and his great inflections; he did a superb job.

Having said that, however, I need to add that I wish I had listened to the unabridged version, even though it's much longer. Here's why: some of the characters are missing in this version. And, of course, some of the little plot twists are not covered. While I love listening to audio books (it makes exercising so much more tolerable!), I need to remember that where Dickens is concerned, it's best to listen to the entire book...I mean, what's the hurry when I need to keep exercising anyway??!?!?!

Now, about the book itself; it is not my favorite. Fro me, the characters were not as intriguing as they are in Bleak House - still one of my favorites. The plot line is not as engaging.

However, true to form, Dickens has some of the most classic lines ever written; as in, "Why ain't you ugly?" Now, that caused me to laugh out loud!

Or how about this section: "As is well known to the wise in their generation, traffic in Shares is the one thing to have to do with in this world. Have no antecedents, no established character, no cultivation, no ideas, no manners; have Shares. Have Shares enough to be on Boards of Direction in capital letters, oscillate on mysterious business between London and Paris, and be great. Where does he come from? Shares. Where is he going to? Shares. What are his tastes? Shares. Has he any principles? Shares. What squeezes him into Parliament? Shares. Perhaps he never of himself achieved success in anything, never originated anything, never produced anything? Sufficient answer to all; Shares. O mighty Shares!"

Or the lovely heroine, Bella who proclaims: "I have made up my mind, Pa, that I must have money. And I feel that since I cannot beg, borrow, or steal it, I am resolved, I must marry it!"

I think Dickens is sheer genius in his writing. And, he knows the human heart in terms of the power of money over some people. Money is such a theme in this book; we see it in the Lemmles, Riderhood, Veneerings, etc. And, even in Bella Wilfer, who does change her mind about the value of love over money as the story progresses.

I recommend listening to an audio version, but be sure to go for the unabridged. And, I highly recommend Dickens; for me, there's not many to compare.
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on January 25, 2017
This story had the usual intriguing Dickens characters but it's very long. I always love how Dickens touches on social issues still relevant today, like poverty, alcoholism, corruption and even gambling addiction (The Old Curiosity Shop). I like the writing in old English language but most of my reader friends hate it, so there's that to consider. This book was darker than most Dickens I've read, though not as sad as most. I read Charles Dickens every year over the holidays, though I've never read A Christmas Carol. Our Mutual Friend is good, but it's no Great Expectations.
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on January 29, 2015
What a CLASSIC! And so good to read again after so many years- after being suggested to me by my fav. author, Micheal Maxwell, I am so glad I re-read it! Charles Dickens is one of our Author Treasures- to be treasured!
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on May 28, 2015
This book is long, grim and a tougher read than even most of Dickens' other novels, but it is by far the best. While Dickens is known for his life-like quirky characters, you'll find plenty of well-developed and complex characters to root for and against in Our Mutual Friend. The writing and plot are also wonderful. It is a shame this book is eclipsed by lesser works such as Great Expectations and does not garner the attention it deserves.
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on October 18, 2012
I would never have tackled this novel if my daughter hadn't given it to us for Christmas and kept asking if we had read it. So when we needed a good book to read aloud in the spring, my husband and I began Our Mutual Friend. What a treat! I am amazed by any novelist's ability to create an array of characters and circumstances and then weave them all together in surprising ways. Dickens not only does this with great skill; he is also a caustic satirist of great humor, an absolute genius of character study, and a spirited social critic to boot. When the wicked finally get their comeuppance, those who apply the verbal medicine do so with an articulate fervor that is deeply satisfying. Not always an easy read, this book is definitely worth the effort.
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on March 29, 2016
I have read all of Dickens' novels except this one until now. Like all the rest a good story quite lengthy but I enjoyed it.
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on June 28, 2015
After downloading about 7 different samples, I've settled on this version. It updates and corrects punctuation in the standard public domain version, and maintains standard paragraph spacing. It also conveniently links events in the novel to a map of London.

Only limitation: I wish it also annotated primary contemporary references.
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on January 20, 2016
This is a very long story. Over 900 pages and the dialog is somewhat repetitive. Dickens wrote this story as a serial for a monthly magazine and it ran for 19 months. The story is interesting but becomes rather predicable toward the end. There are things in the book that no longer exist, and I had to google a few times to learn more about them. I enjoyed it, but I had the time to read while battling a bad cold!
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