Title: Great Expectations
Author: Charles Dickens
My edition: Penguin Popular Classics 1994
Purchased From: BookDepository.com
Synopsis (from BN.com): Young Phillip Pirrip’s life is shaped by an act of kindness which raises him from poverty to wealth. One of the greatest works of classic literature, this novel is a timeless tale of love, hope and humanity.
I read this because:
1. After reading & loving David Copperfield, I wanted to read more Dickens.
2. Miss Haversham has been a character in several other books I’ve read (the Thursday Next series), and I figured it was about time to read her as she was originally written.
3. My book club picked this for our December book.
My thoughts: My Charles Dickens crush that begin with David Copperfield has been cemented into true love with Great Expectations. I apparently couldn’t appreciate his style in high school (when I read A Tale of Two Cities) but I now love his storytelling mastery, his way with descriptions, and his unforgettable and endearing characters.
To me, the message behind Great Expectations is one of coming to terms with the mistakes you’ve made in the past, and moving past them. That’s a theme that everyone can relate to, which is probably why this novel is so beloved.
I’ve been thinking about David Copperfield and Great Expectations a lot, and I’ve decided that while I recognize that Great Expectations is the superior and more complex novel, I love David Copperfield even more. David, Traddles, Agnes, and the rest won my heart over the tough competition found in Pip, Joe, Herbert, and Miss Haversham. But I do love both, and look forward to reading more Dickens.
Book club worthy? Definitely, my book club had a great discussion of this novel, although it turned out to be a more somber discussion than we had expected.
Follow up required: I’m trying to decide which Dickens novel to read next. I think I’ve narrowed it down to Nicholas Nickleby or Oliver Twist, although I’m tempted to re-read A Tale of Two Cities next to see if I like it better than I did in high school, now that I’m a Dickens fan.
You might like this book if you liked: It’s hard to compare Dickens to any other author, but if you’ve never read Great Expectations you definitely should.
Links to purchase: IndieBound, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Book Depository (The Book Depository is the only US site that sells the cute, affordable Penguin UK edition I read, so the other links provided are to the gorgeous new Penguin Classics Hardcover series.)
My favorite lines & passages:
…a large hard-breathing middle-aged slow man, with a mouth like a fish, dull staring eyes, and sandy hair standing upright on his head, so that he looked as if he had just been all but choked, and had that moment come to… (chapter 4)
So, throughout life, our worst weaknesses and meannesses are usually committed for the sake of the people whom we most despise. (chapter 27)
For there was something very comfortable in having plenty of stationery. (chapter 34)