Charles Dickens wrote The Pickwick Papers in his early 20s, but the writing is first rate and as witty as any seasoned author could have done in his place! Like many of Dickenss works, Pickwick was published in monthly installments, or numbers as they were called then. Although Dickens originally intended to end the story at the twentieth number, the popularity of the series (and the resultant income) convinced Dickens to double the length to forty numbers. The end result is a large offering thatll take you a while to get through. Despite its length, Pickwick never tries your patience. Its delightfully humorous from beginning to end. Samuel Pickwick is the bumbling, middle-aged, wealthy namesake of this novel. Hes the leader of a small group of single men that gets into all sorts of mischief, both physical and social. Booze is rampant. Apparently liquor back then was much more a part of daily life than today; everywhere these guys go they party and get drunk. They get into trouble with the law, women, unsavory characters, and more. Characterization is superb. This is one of the few novels youll read for which you can actually say that you got to know the characters. In most books the characters remain two-dimensional and the plot is what carries the story. In Pickwick, the *characters* are the essence of the story and the novel wouldnt be memorable at all if a lesser author were attempting to breathe life into these people. Highly recommended, particularly if you enjoy classic literature! Dickenss later works overshadow this gem due to their maturity, but Pickwick beats them all in enthusiasm, humor, and wit.