Great Expectations by Robert Gottlieb
The Sons and Daughters of Charles Dickens

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Gottlieb doesn't fully acknowledge that Dickens' decisions regarding his sons' education...and career options were hardly uncommon in Victorian England.
-NPR

Synopsis

The strange and varied lives of the ten children of the world's most beloved novelist

Charles Dickens, famous for the indelible child characters he created—from Little Nell to Oliver Twist and David Copperfield—was also the father of ten children (and a possible eleventh). What happened to those children is the fascinating subject of Robert Gottlieb's Great Expectations. With sympathy and understanding he narrates the highly various and surprising stories of each of Dickens's sons and daughters, from Kate, who became a successful artist, to Frank, who died in Moline, Illinois, after serving a grim stretch in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Each of these lives is fascinating on its own. Together they comprise a unique window on Victorian England as well as a moving and disturbing study of Dickens as a father and as a man.

 

About Robert Gottlieb

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Robert Gottlieb has been the editor in chief of Alfred A. Knopf and The New Yorker. He is the author of Sarah: The Life of Sarah Bernhard, George Balanchine: The Ballet Maker, and Lives and Letters (FSG, 2011), and is the dance critic for The New York Observer.
 
Published November 27, 2012 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 257 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Literature & Fiction, Travel. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Great Expectations
All: 2 | Positive: 0 | Negative: 2

NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by Janet Maslin on Dec 06 2012

Mr. Gottlieb also finds nothing but “slim pickings” when he tries to link the indelible children in Dickens’s novels to the more forgotten figures who really bore the Dickens name.

Read Full Review of Great Expectations: The Sons ... | See more reviews from NY Times

NPR

Above average
Reviewed by Heller McAlpin on Nov 20 2012

Gottlieb doesn't fully acknowledge that Dickens' decisions regarding his sons' education...and career options were hardly uncommon in Victorian England.

Read Full Review of Great Expectations: The Sons ... | See more reviews from NPR

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BruceNolan 20 Oct 2013

A bit boring in sometimes but all the novel is good.

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