Catherine Dickens: Outside the Magic CircleCatherine Dickens: Outside the Magic Circle by Heera Datta

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Sometimes a person needs to read something they don’t entirely enjoy. And it is for the fact that I didn’t really enjoy reading this book, that I only gave it three stars. The writing was absolutely grand. And it was good to learn about the information this book has. And it was wonderful that the author gave voice to someone who didn’t have much of a voice in our history. But it was a tough read for me.

In another life, well, that’s what it seems to me to be, at this point in my life, I got to be in the musical ‘Oliver’. I got to play Old Sally. It was a lot of fun and I made a lot of friends. But that opening scene where the workhouse Meister is asked by poor little Oliver for ‘more’, kept coming to my mind as I was reading this. That puny little voice probably was any one of his children, the Dickens you say!

‘It was the best of times it was the worst of times’ compares Mr. Dickens to Mrs. Dickens. He getting all the glory and she having a Baker’s dozen of children and then tossed aside when she wasn’t what he wanted anymore. A good thing to keep in mind when we watch all the versions of a Christmas Carol every year at that time. Now I rather hope that he is the one in chains and she is the one haunting him!

My goal in life is to read as many books by women about women or strong female characters. I don’t like reading about women from codependent pasts. I don’t much like reading about women who are put into the role of barefoot and pregnant and woefully in love. But I’m glad I read the book. It gave voice to the woman who had no voice. I hope a lot of people read this book and that we as a society can start growing when we see how bad it is for women still and not that far back in our own history English/American. Our whole language needs to change. And not just English but many languages. I’ve been taking Duolingo language classes, Spanish and German lately. Everything has a gender but human females get the lesser names. Try to do a history of your own female ancestors and you will find how hard that is to do. Females do not hold history. It is time to change that.

AND books like this one hopefully will do that.

Okay, I have talked myself out of the three-star rating. If I want others to read this I have to give it its due, rather than how enjoyable a read it was. Take that! It now has five stars! (Though I hope never to read it again. Nor will I seek out Chuck Dickens work ever again. What a TOAD!)

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