on 28 March 2016
I had never ever considered reading a book by Charles Dickens before until a friend of mine strongly advised me to give one a try. He suggested that I should start with Great Expectations and I am so glad that he did. I really enjoyed reading the book. It tells the story of Pip, an orphaned boy as he grows into a successful young man. Along the way there are many ups and downs as Pip falls hopelessly in love with the beautiful but aloof Estella. The strange Miss Havisham and the surprising Magwitch add so much depth to the story. I admire the way Dickens develops his characters and I just love his choice of names. This book has got me hooked and I am keen to read more from Mr Dickens.
on 14 March 2015
For my money, Great Expectations, although not Dickens' best ever work - that accolade is reserved, by me at least, for Little Dorrit - is still one of his very, very best. It is also a very easy read, because, as all fans of Dickens know, there was the somewhat flowery-worded works, there's his plainer ones, and there's some in-between. I am glad to say that this is on the whole delivered in a direct straight-forward style. The waxing lyrical which does go on, whether narrative or dialogue is done excellently well, but this is kept to a minimum in this book.
There's also, as there ever was and is, with Dickens, things which apply to life and society now - the manor houses, cottages, slums, and cart-and-four are just the vehicles for emotions and manoeuverings and attitudes and jockeying for position which are - in the main - sadly alive and well now.
The main character, Pip, is on the whole contented with his young life, beatings from his sister notwithstanding, but a visit to a local and somewhat bitter old spinster sets off a chain of events which sees Pip change drastically. After initially being content with his lot, as we've said, he then has his eyes opened and sees how the other half lives, and from then on becomes more and more ashamed of his humble beginnings. This is made far worse by receiving the means from an anonymous benefactor for him to be catapulted from his position as a blacksmith's apprentice in a grimy sweaty old forge owned by Joe, his simple, honest brother-in-law, to the status of young gentleman.
As ever with Dickens, the seemingly separate / disparate situations turn out to be no such thing. I have said in reviews of some of Dickens' other works that such intertwining does not always work well, stretching the bounds of coincidence too far, but here it is managed with perfection.
If I can be allowed to digress for just a line or two; I would like to praise one old Hollywood actor - Francis L Sullivan for his portrayal of Jaggers, the rough bluff London lawyer, in the 1946 film version of this book. It's as if Dickens had had his very own flux capacitor and zoomed into the future to find the right person to base his character on, rather than the other way round. He looked and acted the part to absolute perfection.
But back to this book; it really is one of Dickens' finest works, the longish nature / high page count, just doesn't seem to figure at all.
on 27 June 2016
I didn't had big expectations for this book so no disappointment after reading it. It did not left me any good or bad feelings, i did not like the main character as most of the readers. Book was even boring for me at some times. But i promised to myself that i will finish it and i have to say that I was not impressed at all. But needless to say that I am proud that I have read it because it is classics. I did not enjoy even the most interesting part of the book - love story, which, in my eyes, was not love at all. And the ending is poor.
on 23 June 2015
Five stars? Absolutely. However you don’t need to take my word for it, many other reviewers feel the same. Yes it can be a mammoth read and yes there are sections that ponder along, and yes you need to read with a dictionary beside you but surely it’s a good thing to enlarge ones vocabulary? But this is missing the point. Great expectations is one of the finest pieces of English literature. The BBC and others have made worthy attempts to capture the essence and the flavour of the book in film but the original work gives so much more. Between chapters forty four and forty six Pip eventually learns his secret benefactor is not Miss Havisham. He confronts her with the wickedness that she allowed him to believe he was favoured by her and had ‘expectations’ for Estella. The confrontation is beautifully articulated, but even more magnanimous is Pip’s forgiveness when Miss Havisham admitted her error. It really is beautifully realized and perhaps the crowning moment of the book as well as the turning point for Pip. Forget the critics who disparage and lose yourself in the drama.
The classic Dickens novel, in a decent transcription which I suspect comes from Project Gutenberg. I've got no issue with that, as there is no charge made for it.
This is one of Dickens' most readable books; with a strong narrative, clearly delineated and memorable characters and not too much of the excessive sentimentality that mars some of his work for modern readers. You can't help but get involved in Pip's story.
Language purists should note that this eBook appears to be derived from a US edition, as it contains American English spellings.
on 6 May 2014
This story is amazingly well told and offers drama, suspense, love and betrayal all in one. I first read this story as a teenager and it was so compelling and moving. The images conjured in my mind about who Pip and Lady Havisham were so vivid. I have seen many movie versions of this beloved story since but none have come close to the joy I had reading it for the first time or to the completeness of the book.
Even if you have seen TV or movie versions of this already, I encourage to read this and experience what it was truly meant to be.
on 9 May 2015
What's to say about this that hasn't been said already? If you read Dickens already you'll know what you are in for, so maybe I should try to pursuade those yet to try.
As Dickens goes this is fairly lightweight and accessible - sure the sentences are long and a bit old-fashioned, but savour them and go at a relaxed pace and the wonderful evocation of place and people of Victorian Britain will surely draw you in unless you have a heart of stone. As you might expect from Dickens the book is tightly and cunningly plotted, with great characterisation and plot twists that will catch out the inattentive reader, but there's also a vein of humour and gentle fun in the people you meet. And you could bump into rogues, lovers and heroes like them today, so accurate is Dickens insight into human nature.
You can read it as a tale of the adventures of a young man growing up or, perhaps on second reading, you might interpret it as a satire on class and the power of money in society, with Dickens putting his own views into the mouths of the main protagonists. Either way, give it and yourself some time and I think you will thoroughly enjoy a classic story.
on 24 April 2015
Dickens surpasses all others. This book is so brilliantly written and the characters beautifully drawn. Hated being expected to read, understand and enjoy it as a child when Enid Blyton was "fantastic" (to me!) but my goodness, what I missed. I love Pip and being just over halfway through the book, fear for his future. He is a very innocent snob but you can't help liking him. Estella is a little shrew. She delights in hurting Pip and he is too innocent to realise she is just using him and teasing him. Will she get her just desserts? And will Pip be happy ever after? Read Dickens as an adult and love it. Amusing, sad, intriguing, sometimes exasperating but an outstanding read!