Great Expectations was written in 1860 or 1861 by Charles Dickens. Some consider it to be loosely based on Dicken’s life. It is considered a classic, considering it is still being read, and reprinted today I tend to agree. I also feel weird doing a review on a book that has been around for 148 years. Here goes.
The book is divided into three parts, the three phases of the main character’s great expectations. Pip is an orphan, being brought up by ‘hand’ by his sister, whose husband Joe is Pip’s only friend. By the end of the book we see that Joe is a true and loyal friend to Pip. The other characters in the book shape (one could say warp) Pip’s development from young boy to young man. Miss Havisham, who has lived in seclusion since being jilted, and her foster child Estella, who is beautiful and has been raised to wreck Miss Havisham’s vengeance on men, with whom he immediately falls in love. He receives a fortune from a secret benefactor so that he can ‘become a gentleman’. Pip moves to London, leaving his family and a life of poverty behind, he makes new friends in London, and becomes a gentleman with their help. With the revealing of his benefactor and the subsequent consequences of this Pip learns his true character.
I would characterize this novel as a character driven novel with most of the action being related in first person and narrative fashion. Charles Dickens is excellent at developing his characters and his descriptions are vivid, when Pip describes the level of his fear in the graveyard, you almost feel it yourself. This is not a book you can rush through, but I felt it was worth the time it took to read it and recommend it.