My Rating: 4.5 Stars
Age Suggestion: 12+
I was looking back at the blog and realized that I haven’t done a book review in a while (since early January, in fact). I’ve done several book-related posts: Thoughts on “Happily Ever After” and My 7 Favorite Book Couples, but it’s been a while since I did an actual book review.
Usually I like to review newer books, as they can be a bit more iffy in terms of content and quality, but this is the book that I just finished, and I am very proud of myself and would like to share this accomplishment with you all.
Plus, Charles Dickens was such a genius, and I hope to convince you of that in this review if you are not convinced already.
Orphaned Pip, a ward of his short-tempered older sister and her husband, Joe, is apprenticed to the dirty work of the forge but dreams of becoming a gentleman. And, indeed, it seems as though that dream is destined to come to pass — because one day, under sudden circumstances, he finds himself in possession of “great expectations.” In telling Pip’s story, Dickens traces a boy’s path from a hardscrabble rural life to the teeming streets of 19th-century London. Its compelling characters include Magwitch, the fearful and fearsome convict; Estella, whose beauty is excelled only by her haughtiness; and the embittered Miss Havisham, an eccentric jilted bride.
-summary from Amazon.com
What I Didn’t Like
First of all, let me just say this: Dickens is incredible, but it is hard reading. It takes a long time to get through, especially if you are like me and don’t necessarily have unlimited hours to read during the day because of school and extracurriculars (homeschooled people, I envy you).
The other thing is that Dickens takes a long time to get into. The beginning of Great Expectations is interesting, but it’s not that interesting. And it takes a while to get interesting. I kinda stalled out for a while, which is why it took me several months to read this book. But then you get to the last third of the book, where the genius of Dickens suddenly comes together (more on this in a minute).
All of that is to say that Dickens really won’t be for everyone. But if you read a lot, and enjoy classics, by all means read his books!
What I Liked
Charles Dickens was truly a genius. The way that he wrote his stories works like this. They start out slow, with several different story-threads that don’t seem to relate to each other at all. Things happen, but the stories are still not really coming together. They’re each on their own track as the plot begins to gain speed.
Then, in the last third of the book or so, everything begins to connect. People are related to other people, there is backstory you didn’t know about, and suddenly every story that was started at the beginning comes together in a perfect conclusion.
Great Expectations is no exception to the rule. The plot all comes together in the most wonderful, seamless way, with things that you did not expect but that seem to make perfect sense. By the end, all confusion that you may have felt at the beginning of the book is gone.
The characters and settings are incredibly unique and memorable, from the gloomy marshes and Magwitch, the convict, to eccentric Miss Havisham and her cold-hearted ward, Estella, and many more along the way. Each of the major characters are layered and complex, with more to them than meets the eye.
There is nothing inappropriate in these books that I can remember, unless there was some offhand reference or something. The only romance that goes on is either very sweet and pure or very tragic and unreturned.
I rated it for ages twelve and it because it is a slightly challenging book, as well as the fact that there is some language all through it, of the entirely mild British kind.
There are a few intense scenes as well, with some violence, but it isn’t described in a way that will freak out a twelve-year-old, I don’t think. As a movie, it could end up being quite dark, but the book handles it well.
Favorite male character: Probably Wemmick. (Not a usual choice, I don’t think, but he is just such a unique and fascinating character!)
Favorite female character: Biddy. (I mean, who else would I pick?)
Favorite couple: Herbert and Clara (they’re super sweet!)
Would I Recommend It?
If you enjoy classics, absolutely! I don’t want someone to read it who won’t appreciate its beauty, but if you do enjoy classic literature, definitely read this one.
Have you read Great Expectations? Did you like it? Would you recommend it? Who were your favorite characters? If you haven’t read it, will you read it now? Tell me in the comments below!
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♥ love, grace ♥
Coming soon: the next installment in the How to Witness series (read the first part here)