Gr 7 Up-Caravantes discusses the writer's early influences that resulted in his interest in exploring social ills in his work. Through his flair for drama, his tendency to exaggerate, and his heartfelt emotions about the causes about which he wrote, Dickens not only provided entertainment to his audiences, but also awakened them to the plight of the poor. He is glowingly portrayed throughout most of this chronological account. Negative incidents tend to be glossed over or made to seem as though the subject were a victim of circumstance or simply of fate. His devotion to other women seemed to be due to his wife's frail health, and to emotional, as well as geographical, distance. Many photos, drawings, and reproductions in color and in black and white enhance the text. In spite of the author's bias, the book is interesting reading and well documented. It will not only provide material for reports, but will also be enjoyed by biography buffs.-Marilyn Fairbanks, Azure IRC, Brockton High School, MA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.