London and in fact the whole country it seems has gone slightly Dickens mad with the TV specials, constant promotions and the media hype. It’s great really, we have Dickens’s birthday, the Queens Jubilee, a huge Shakespeare festival and the Olympics all in the same year. 2013 may feel like a total come-down after all this year’s excitement.
I did not read Great Expectations because of all the hype although perhaps it has somehow filtered down to me. The BBC recently aired a new version of Great Expectations over Christmas which was pretty bad (and I feel bad for saying that because I love Gillian Anderson). While watching episode one I found myself getting quite defensive over a book and author I had never read so I decided that rather than put myself through two more episodes I would just read the dam thing.
Great Expectations needs little in the way of plot synopsis as like many of Dickens’s novels the general gist of the plot is known by many. After saying that the novel did throw up a few surprises by giving me some rather beautiful sentences scattered throughout and a couple of delicious plot twists at the end.
There are many many strengths to this novel. The plot is a great one, the characters are brilliant, the places are vividly described, the gothic elements are a nice touch and there also social and moral issues which thread through and combine the whole thing. It’s a rich novel and one which you can really curl up with and get into. I also loved the general view that money doesn’t always equal happiness, the very flawed man in the main character Pip and the general darkness of it all.
Yes the writing isn’t the most easy to get on with (but not Henry James hard) and it did also lull in a couple of places in the middle where I just wanted Dickens to ‘get on with it’ but if you are prepared to give this novel your full attention and accept that you are probably not going to rush through it (although why would you want to) then you will be rewarded.
I’m not quite ready to pick up Bleak House yet but Oliver I think is next on my list.
Posted by Jess