About mini reviews:
Maybe you’re not an audio book person, or maybe you are. I provide mini reviews of audio books and give a recommendation on the format. Was this book improved by a voice actor? Would a physical copy have been better? Perhaps they complement each other? Read on. . .
A work of nonfiction written by Judith Flanders and read by Corrie James, The Victorian City: Everday Life in Dickens’ London looks at Victorian London bit by bit, e.g. creating roads, getting around on roads, trains, the market, street sellers, slums, water quality, etc. I prefer this over chronological descriptions, as I can see a progression for each element of the city. While Corrie James reads beautifully and clearly in her British accent, the content is a harsh contrast: the Thames is basically a turd canal; if you’re loved one died and you wanted her 6 feet under, the cemetery might dig up some other corpses stacked bunk bed-style, chop them up with spades, throw their pieces on the ground, cover the pieces with boards that new mourners stand on during your loved one’s funeral, and afterward throw the pieces back in the hole on top of the fresh corpse; and by chapter 9 we’ve had four Cholera outbreaks (thanks, poop water). There’s a lot about poop.
Happily, part three is entitled “ENJOYING LIFE,” so I was relieved, but the first chapter was “1867: The Regent’s Park Skating Disaster” during which forty people died while ice skating. Okay, it’s not a pleasant book to listen to, but I maintained loads of details, and Judith Flanders ties in examples from Dickens’s work that demonstrates he not only wrote fiction, but was practically London’s biographer. Unfortunately, more people seemed to think like Scrooge about social welfare in the 19th century. An interesting, informative book especially aimed at Dickens readers. I would recommend the audio book and check in occasionally on the physical copy to see poems, lists, and images.