Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
The past two years I’ve forced myself to dive into the classics in between my other reads. ‘Forced’ because over the years there had been many I did not enjoy, but I was extremely surprised and thrilled by some of the gems I found; Wuthering Heights, The Count of Monte Cristo and Jane Eyre. Anyway, Charles Dickens was next on my list as I had bought the audible version of Great Expectations a while ago and I decided to dive in for August; unfortunately this is going to be one of those classics that just doesn’t do it for me.
Dickens’ characters reminded me of Jane Austen’s overly dramatic and exaggerated characters which I’ve found annoys me probably more than it should; but it does and for this biggest reason, it was difficult for me to get past the characters to the writing and story itself. Especially the infatuation of Estella, she has zero redeeming qualities other than being beautiful, and yet Pip loves her unconditionally and it just didn’t make sense to me.
Pip’s struggle with his poor and unloving early childhood creates his intense desire to be a gentleman and rise above to another social class and standing. It’s sad to watch as his innocent mind realizes some truths of social classes and how he then negatively impacts some of his relationships. There were definitely some great descriptive scenes that reminded me of the beauty that the Bronte sisters were able to convey in their novels and I wish there had been more so I could have enjoyed the rest of the novel.
The beginning was interesting and some of the minuscule details ended up being very important for the ending so it ended up all coming together in a fantastic way. And the ending, talk about a crazy amount of twists! However, the middle of the book lagged a lot and thus I forgot a lot of the beginning details by the time it got to the point where I needed them.
Synopsis: Humble, orphaned, Pip is apprenticed to the dirty work of the forge but dares to dream of becoming a gentleman - and one day under sudden and enigmatic circumstances, he finds himself in possession of “great expectations”. In this gripping tale of crime and guilt, revenge and reward, the compelling characters include Magwitch, the fearful and fearsome convict; Estella, whose beauty is only excelled by her haughtiness; and Miss Havisham, an eccentric jilted bride.