Joe here. The book that I want to look at today is titled “Great Expectations” by Charles Dickens and was published in 1861.
I first read this in high school and it has remained a favorite of mine throughout the years. It concerns a frightened young boy called Pip who gives food and assistance to a desperate escaped convict. Sometime later, Pip is taken to the home of Miss Havisham, an eccentric rich old woman and her young ward Estella. Pip, though very much out of his element, endures the cruel games of Miss Havisham and the aloof, cold Estella.
Years later, Pip is offered a chance to leave his blacksmith apprenticeship and travel to London, where with a comfortable monetary allowance, he will be taught to become a gentleman of society.
So, many people reading this might be yawning (boring, right?) but just give the story a chance. Why did the richest woman in the village suddenly take notice of Pip? Who is Estella and why is she the ward of Miss Havisham and why is she such a cold person? Who and why would someone be co concerned about Pip’s welfare and want to make him a gentleman? Well, to find these answers you’ll have to read the book and you might be surprised when you see how everything comes together.
Dickens is a wonderful writer with a great eye for detail concerning Victorian England. His character development is good and his stories have a sense of mystery about them that makes you want to find out more. Some have complained about his books being too long and that is understandable. Dickens wrote for newspapers and magazines so the more he wrote the more hw was paid. Hence when his stories came out in book form they were a bit thick. If you find the thick version a bit daunting there are shorter abridged versions (such as the one pictured and available to our students from our school lending library) that are just as good and easier to understand.
Several movies have been made from this book. My favorite is “Great Expectations” (1946) with John Mills, Alec Guinness, Valerie Hobson and Jean Simmons.
I hope you like this review, I’d love to hear from you and let me know what you think. If you do comment, I just ask that you keep it civil. Thanks and have a good day!