It is almost impossible to be dull about Dickens but this comes close. ""Charles John Huffman Dickens was born on February 7, 1812, in Landport, a suburb of Ports-mouth, a big naval port on the southern coast of England. He was the eldest son of John and Elizabeth Dickens. . ."" and so it goes, in a style that today is usually facetious, dutifully reciting what Dickenn did when, tediously synopsizing the plots of his novels and underscoring their themes. The tone is prim, the observations are trite. Far better to start with Great Expectations, Elisabeth Kyle's vibrant recreation.