Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

Posted: December 31, 2008 in Uncategorized
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After several failed attempts to read this book during my childhood, I picked it up a couple of days ago and have found it difficult to put down. I had even tried watching the movie a couple of times but quit with disinterest, although I had Gwynneth Paltrow and Ethan Hawk burned into my mind as I read the novel this time.

This novel was a page turner for me. I had a strong inkling of where the story was heading, and was delighted to find that I knew who Pip’s true benefactor was, and yet none of this foreknowledge detracted my enjoyment of the story. There were spots that were slow to read through, but they were easy to skim until getting back on course with the meat of the story. The characters were rich and well rounded. I especially loved the depictions of Mrs. Havisham and her dwelling amongst her shattered dreams.

Great Expectations is a fabulous rendering of the much loved rags to riches motif. And yet it didn’t include the typical perfect happily ever after ending. For me this makes it a superior read, because it becomes a plausible rendering of possibilities, of hopes and dreams, of unrequited love and unfulfilled relationships, of humanity wandering and searching, and of contentment and pleasure in the mundane that truly makes life spectacular.

I read the Bantam Classics version which includes Dickens’ original ending (which he changed just before the story was published). I found both endings perfectly suitable, although the published one is a bit more fulfilling because it allows Pip to remain the wholehearted character that he is, rather than reflecting a spiteful side, which he never exhibited during the novel.

A classic well worth investing the time to read!

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