What I Read: Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. I read the abridged version that is 246 pages rather than the original unabridged version that is 500+ pages because well…I’m not a crazy person. Genre: novel, fiction Rating: 9/10
How It Starts: The story is set in 1812. The main character is a very poor, orphan boy named Pip. After his parents die he goes to live with his horrible older sister and her husband Joe, who is very kind. One night Pip is in the churchyard visiting his parents graves when he finds an escape convict hiding among the headstones. The convict, who is very frightening, tells Pip to return later than night with food and a file to remove his leg irons. He makes Pip promise not to tell anyone about their encounter.
How It Gets Complicated: Many years after his encounter in the graveyard Pip learns that he has a “benefactor”. That someone very wealthy and powerful is going to pay for him to move to London to study and become a proper gentleman. Pip is never told who this person is. He assumes it is Miss Havisham, a very wealthy but incredibly weird and manipulative woman who had taken interest in him when he was a boy. Neither Pip nor the reader find out who the benefactor is until the very end of the book.
What I liked: I can’t say who (no spoilers!) but I loved who the benefactor turned out to be. It taught Pip a lesson about humility. He had become so arrogant and had forgotten who he was. The big reveal causes him to reexamine the way he has been acting. Also, I love Miss Havisham! She is so mysterious and creepy. She is also very real. Someone who turns her pain into a weapon to use against others.
What I Disliked: It got a little boring in parts. It moves pretty slowly and because it covers Pips whole life (from a child to an adult) there is a lot to cover. I honestly can’t imagine getting through the unabridged version. Not a book to read late at night when you are tired.
Recommendation: Although I didn’t really cover it in this book review, Great Expectations is actually a love story. Pip loves Estella and Estella loves him but their love is complicated by so many factors. Anyone who is interested in stories about love and loyalty would definitely love this book.