It would be hard to summarize the book so far, so I won't even try. But here are a few random thoughts I have at the moment:
1. This book is really funny in parts. Some of the characters are quite amusing. There's Mr. Turveydrop, a dance instructor of little means, but who impresses everyone by his deportment. There's the old man Mr. Smallweed, who slumps down into his chair and must be shaken and fluffed up like a pillow by his daughter, especially after he's thrown a pillow at his wife, who's prone to ramble on in a senile manner. And of course, the names of the characters themselves are great. In addition to the ones I just mentioned, there's Mr. Guppy, a somewhat slimy legal aid, Mr. Vohles (a definitely slimy lawyer), and Mrs. Jellyby (a woman so involved with charity that she neglects her family, and thus fails to see that charity begins at home).
2. Dickens definitely has a beef with the law. The centerpiece of the story is a lawsuit that's gone on for years, and still has no end in sight. It probably will never end, because the lawyers don't want it to...when it ends they'll stop making money off of it. There hasn't been one sympathetic portrait of a lawyer or the legal system, at least so far. It would be interesting to know more about the British legal system at the time, and if it's changed at all. I think I'll look into that.
3. The book can be very moving as well. The main character, Esther Summerson, gets smallpox, and her face is disfigured from it. She says it doesn't bother her, with the typical British stiff upper lip, I suppose, but you can tell it does. And who wouldn't it bother!?