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Reviews of Great Expectations (1861)

Review by SlowRain (2006-08-24)

This is the second novel that I have now read by Charles Dickens, the other being "A Tale of Two Cities". The story is a coming of age tale centered around Pip, a young orphan raised by his fierce sister and gentle brother-in-law, who feels destined for greater things but seems doomed to become a blacksmith. His life is irreversibly changed when he receives a mysterious monetary gift with the condition that he be educated and raised to be a gentleman.

The narrative is a very lush, well-detailed, first-person account of Pipís story. It never really has a slow part as the events are all relative to the characters and themes being discussed, but itís more about character and lessons in life than a complex plot. We are treated to discussions of family relationships, generosity, gratitude, indebtedness (both financial and personal favors), infatuation, prejudice, judicial fairness, etc. Another treat is that Dickens is also fair with his characters: some are normal, some are weird, they all have obstacles that they must deal with - especially Pip - yet they donít always do what we may consider to be the right thing, nor do they always act in a responsible way. We get to know Pip quite well, and by the end of the novel we are feeling his triumphs and sufferings.

There were a few things, however, that did affect my enjoyment of the novel. While not sinking to the level of "A Tale of Two Cities", there are a few contrived coincidences that made me groan a bit. As well, the narrative, while highly enjoyable, was intrusive at times. There was also one scene that was staged to achieve maximum suspense and danger, but Iím pretty sure it wouldnít have actually played out that way in real life.

This is a novel that I would highly recommend to most readers who read and enjoy something more than thrillers and mysteries. I would certainly encourage every senior high school student and university student to read it for the timeless wisdom.

Review by mrdude (2005-12-20)
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens is the story of a young boy named pip who while being raised by his older sister and her husband Joe, the town blacksmith, gains aspirations to become a gentleman rather than apprentice to Joe.

It is not often that I find myself reading classic literature. It is not that I am opposed to such, it's that it is often out of my comfort zone, so I don't even know where to begin. I believe I first picked this book up while browsing a book store and was intrigued at how quickly it took off. I aways had ideas of dickens being a very wordy and bland author. I found this to be far from the truth.

The story is quite captivating, the prose being exceptional and the storyline intriguing. Much of the driving force behind the plot-line is done by several mysteries throughout the book. It seemed to me that whenever the action started to dim down a bit I was implored to read further simply to find those out.

I was even more amazed to learn that the work was originally a serialised novel. It's hard when reading the work, to imagine that he wrote it in small segments throughout the course of a year.

This is surely a work worth reading. It is insightful, and really makes one think about issues that arise quite often in todays world and are often not addressed by modern authors.

(Review also posted at the IBDoF)

Review by darkkilala (2005-05-15)
This book was ok. It was an awesome read, but it was kind of boring. The reason it was boring was the fact that it was kind of dragged out, like the author got tired of it every few chapters and just went way past the subject line. Besides that, it was an awesome book, one of the best by Dickens, besides "A Christmas Carol".

Review by ChefInnocent (2003-04-06)
The story was okay, but the writing style certainly demonstrated Dickensí arrogance. The reason authorís should not be paid by the word is demonstrated with this book. Many of the chapters just ramble on and on after the characters have been well developed and finished whatever the point of that chapter was. Not only does this book drag, but Dickensí alienates his audience by using 25 cent words where 10 cent words would have done nicely.
To those readers who are familiar with 19th century authors, this is no surprise. That is to say, Charles Dickens was a product of his times. This is a book that could make a fine movie, and make a rare instance where one would say, ďThe movie was better than the book.Ē I havenít yet seen a movie for this book, but if done well, Iím certain that would be what Iíd say.

©Steven Jeffery /, 2017
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