Thursday, January 3, 2008

Great Expectations - Charles Dickens

Title: Great Expectations
Author: Charles Dickens
Country: Britain
Year: 1861
Rating: 5 out of 5
Pages: 484

First Sentence: My father's family name being Pirrip, and my christian name Philip, my infant tongue could make of both names nothing longer or more explicit than Pip.

I have only read Dickens once before, an that was not of my own volition. I read A Tale of Two Cities in 10th grade, and really loved it. For some reason, I never went back. I always meant to, and when My Year of Reading Dangerously came about at Estella's Revenge, and Great Expectations was January's book, I figured I couldn't put it off any longer.

I will admit, it was a slow start. For the first 50 pages or so, I wasn't entirely captivated. Then I really became interested and engaged with the characters, particularly Miss Havisham, and thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the novel.

As many of you probably know, since Great Expectations started out as a weekly serial, there is never a lack of suspense. Dickens' writing is intricate and detailed, and there are more twists and turns than many of the other books I have read from his time period. His ability to hone in on the nuances of human behaviour, particularly through Pip's fallibility, is a highlight in what I consider to be a true masterpiece. Great Expectations covers virtually every aspect of the human condition, and causes the reader to consider their own human nature and "great expectations". Highly Recommended.

So throughout life, our worst weaknesses and meannesses are usually committed for the sake of the people whom we most despise. (p.218)


Andi said...

I'm reading this book for the second time (the first being 13 years a freshman in high school). I'm about 65 pages in, and I'm really captivated now that Miss Havisham is on the scene. As you can tell from the name of my blog and Estella's Revenge, I've kept a soft spot for Estella all these years. :)

Eva said...

Do you read the Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde? Miss Havisham plays a bit of a role in the second one, and then a large role in the third one. :)

Our English class read this in ninth grade, and some of my friends decided I was Estella. *sigh* (mainly because I refused to date) Fortunately, I didn't take it to heart!

Heather said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed it! I'm almost finished with it myself and it's one I have tried to get through for probably...oh...about 15 years. Once I pushed myself I really enjoyed it too, especially that Miss Havisham.

She is great in the Jasper Fforde books as well. He really capture her well, I think.

Nyssaneala said...

andi - I'm glad that I now understand the meaning of your blog's name! Estella was a very intriguing, and memorable character.

eva - I do! I love the Thursday Next series, and plan on re-reading it this year. I have now read more of the classics that are mentioned in the series, so I can read the books with more enlightened eyes. :)

heather - I'm looking forward to re-reading the Fforde series this year. It is a great series!

Jeane said...

I always struggle so much with Dickens. The beginnings feel so slow. I read this in high school but really ought to go back to it again.

Anonymous said...

I could have written this almost word for word. I read this last year and just LOVED it. I am planning a different Dickens for Reading Dangerously this month

Wendy said...

I'm glad you noted that it started slow for you. I started reading this yesterday, and it is dragging for me! I'm about 60 pages hopefully it will get better :)