Friday, February 6, 2009

Charles Dickens: Great Expectations

I didn't actually read the version pictured here, but I liked this cover best of all the ones I found online. I actually read Great Expectations online at because I wanted to find out what that site was all about and this book had been on my list for a long time. I now wish that I had been more patient and read this Dickens classic in hard book form because it deserves the best reading experience possible. I wouldn't mind using an online site like Qwestia for re-reading books but for the first time around I think I'll stick with the library or bookstore.

I completely understand why this novel is considered a classic and I'm beginning to see why Dickens is listed among the great authors of his time. I have made a resolution to read more of his work this year. Great Expectations was delightful and interesting at the same time, a combination that I always enjoy. I love Pip with all his flaws and pride because he is so real and honest as a character. I must admit, though, he is far from my favorite of the lovely people who march through this book. Wemmick is my absolute favorite character - I love the idea of his double nature and philosophy of having two different lives that have nothing to do with each other. Herbert is a close second on my list of favorites. From the first time we meet him as a young boy who is anxious for adventure to the next time Pip meets him and finds a great friend, he is entertaining and endearing all the way through.

As I consider what I might point out as something I didn't like only one thing comes to mind. I don't really like how Pip becomes so proud and abandons all remnants of his former life. But as I think about this more, it is clear that this is kind of what the book is all about and, therefore, what makes it such a great commentary on human nature. It was the only way the story could have worked, so I really can't complain in the end.

I'm glad I finally got to read Great Expectations and I'm looking forward to experiencing more Dickens. I'm sure most have read this as well, so what are your thoughts? What do you remember most?

As a side note, I found another site that has the 'classics' available to read for free. has a much better layout and reader friendly format for long reading sessions. If you must, use ReadPrint instead of Qwestia.


Madame Hook. said...

Pip reminds me of a lot of people that I went to high school with, and thats how I've always seen him.

You grow up in Yuma, think its trashy, and run off at the first chance you get to the lights and jazz of Phoenix or San Diego or L.A., and overnight you change. You try and forget everything that made up your childhood, as well as tossing out values with the garbage.

I've always thought that Great Expectations should be re-written from the point of kids from my high school. You'd get almost the same story but the names change.

Probably one of the reasons I love this book :)

Juberry said...

If you're looking for more Dickens, consider Oliver Twist. NicWo, our cousin, is reading it right now and she can't seem to stop talking about it. I trust her taste, so I'm sending the recommendation on to you. Kisses!