Title: Great Expectations
Author: Charles Dickens
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Pip doesn’t expect much from life… His sister makes it clear that her orphaned little brother is nothing but a burden on her. But suddenly things begin to change. Pip’s narrow existence is blown apart when he finds an escaped criminal, is summoned to visit a mysterious old woman and meets the icy beauty Estella. Most astoundingly of all, an anonymous person gives him money to begin a new life in London. Are these events as random as they seem? Or does Pip’s fate hang on a series of coincidences he could never have expected?
It’s hard for me to review this book because I really wanted to love it. Great Expectations was my first Charles Dickens book so I don’t have anything else to compare it to, but while I liked certain aspects of the story, it was unnecessarily long.
I liked Pip as a character and found myself being able to relate to him from time to time. Growing up as an orphan under the care of an abusive sister, I can’t blame Pip for wanting a better life with even better company. Pip’s dreams end up coming true when he receives a fortune from an unknown benefactor. He grows up a gentleman with the financial security he never thought he’d have. With his new status in society, he can now pursue the beautiful love of his life, Estella.
At its heart, Great Expectations is a sad book. It’s sad because in his quest to attain all he wanted, Pip ends up overlooking things that truly mattered. This also happens with other characters in the book and it left me with an ache of what could have been if things happened differently. Our characters, most especially Pip, learn things the hard way. There are lessons we can take from their experiences and that’s what I’ll take away with me.
I can see why Great Expectations is a classic loved by many. My feelings about it may change if I read it again in the future but for now, I think I’ll settle for the TV adaptation. I can’t say I recommend this book – if you’re curious and it’s been on your list for years, go for it. If you have others you’re more interested in reading, read them first. Great Expectations is a book you might enjoy if you like reading at a slower pace, for others who find themselves restless at a certain point, you’ll want to steer away lest it puts you in a reading slump.