I am a big fan of Dickens, but this one was a disappointment for me. Like many of his novels, he is making a commentary on society. In this case, he is criticizing the trend of memorizing facts in education and society's movement toward industrialization. Two of the main characters, siblings Louisa and Tom Gradgrind are brought up to memorize facts and ignore stories and imaginative fancy. They end up being socially dysfunctional; in Louisa's case she is unable to build emotional ties and Tom becomes a complete selfish boor. What this novel was missing is what Dickens does so well in his other books. The characters seemed flat and one-dimensional. Where were the memorable supporting characters like Uriah Heep, or Jenny Wren? The book felt preachy, especially the ending, and lacked the usual humor and warmth for me. My least favorite Dickens so far.