A Tale of Two Cities


A Tale of Two Cities was a book club read and a difficult read. I didn’t get much in the beginning, the struggle was real, from plot development, use of language to character development. I pressed on even with paragraphs that I did not understand. The first chapter was particularly slow and to me, it did not add value to the entire story line.

I kept asking myself why I was reading this book. I pressed on to the end. The book starts to make sense way later. My biggest question regarding this book is why Charles Dickens would put readers through so much suffering in trying to bring across issues that were affecting France and Britain. Surely there was a better way of putting the story across.

My take home theme from the book is Tyranny and Revolution. This theme resonates so well with what is happening in many African countries. Revolutions have happened in many countries and Charles Dickens was right that while tyranny will lead to revolution, revolution will lead back to tyranny because whoever is in power will be tempted to exercise their full power. My recent read Thomas Sankara: An African Revolutionary relates well to this theme. There were 3 coups in Burkina Faso as different factions tried to bring about a revolution in a country. These coups could however not fulfill the revolutions as they would have liked because each leader was tempted to exercise their full power and in the process forgetting he will of the people.

On characters, one that stood out for me was Jerry Cruncher. He reminds me of this gangster turned preacher who came to talk about his wayward ways on radio. This man was in the business of stealing coffins. To cut the long story short, he felt redeemed one day when all his accomplices were killed except him. He believed that it was the Lord Jesus who saved him and that not dying served as a warning for him to stop the business of stealing coffins.

There are books that are just not meant for me, this is one of them. Granted Charles Dickens has great talent, the prose was well done but the language difficult and one should not struggle through reading a book.


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