This book... THIS BOOK.
Up until a certain point in high school, I had basically equated Charles Dickens with "kid stories" thanks to Christmas Carol and Oliver Twist.
And then came this book.
You have no idea how attached I was to Sydney Carton, and how hard it was for me to act normal in class when we got to discussing the end of the book. I was apparently the only bookworm in the room, at least the only one who had been sucked into this book, so I was trying to not come off as any weirder than I already did. But on my inside, my heart was wailing. Oh, was it weeping.
I am still grieving, damn it. It's like "The Giving Tree" all over again, except for adults. Because it's not fair. And even though I was already aware at that age, that life is anything but fair, I still couldn't help but be PISSED at the casual cruelty of it all.
Okay. So. Random and not-so-random thoughts about this book:
Is a person with a dirtier past easier to kill, according to "the rules of things"?
Is it easier for you, as a reader, or even as a writer, if the person that dies is a less angelic one?
Why did he have to die to redeem himself? Why did he even need to redeem himself? Is that even what he is doing or is he, perhaps, rebelling against life instead? Is his decision worth it, either way?
Wilde said that every saint has a past and every sinner has a future, but where does that leave Sydney? He says it's a far better thing he does, and blah blah blah, and yes- it has meaning, but that meaning isn't worth it. "Life" is apathetic, Sydney. The universe doesn't give a shit whether you live or die, and Charles is only going to die later rather than sooner. Shit.
Charles can fuck off, because he should not have went to France during that time of unease in the first place.
Sorry. I still get riled up over this book. I haven't read it since that English class in high school. I try to avoid books and movies that might emotionally upset me. Now that might sound chicken shit, but let me explain something here - I'm not an emotionally-reactive person, usually. I'm not exaggerating or trying to brag, because I don't see it as necessarily a good thing. I'm just saying that I am missing that built-in repertoire of automatic emotional responses other people seem to have.
In short - my emotions aren't as visual as others'. It takes either a huge build-up or very specific things to get me worked up enough to where I unintentionally show my feelings.
I remember crying over this book. Not even out of sadness, so much, but out of anger and recognition and acceptance. Because that's life, for you.
So yeah. This book managed to hit a spot for me. Read it.