I first started to read The Pickwick Papers about a year ago and didn't get past the first chapter. Last week, with a break from work over Christmas, I thought I'd give it another go and am glad I did. The first Chapter is quite tough to follow, but having persevered and begun Chapter 2 I found it very hard to put the book down.

The characters of Jingle early on in the book and Sam Weller later provide immense amusement around the adventures of the main characters, who I percevied to be somewhat straighter. The book definitely rewards slow and careful reading to fully appreciate all of the nuances and subtleties that make it as amusing and entertaining as it is.

For what the novel is, there is little to criticise. The lack of a strong plot is excused in Dickens' original preface where he states that his 'object in this work, was to place before the reader a constant succession of characters and incidents; to paint them in as vivid colours as he could command; and to render them, at the same time, life-like and amusing'. It would be hard to argue he doesn't achieve this, and as such I'd rate this as one of the most enjoyable books I've read in months. That Dickens was only 24 when he wrote this is incredible; his insight and maturity for someone so young is almost scary.