From Goodreads: “In what may be Dickens’s best novel, humble, orphaned Pip is apprenticed to the dirty work of the forge but dares to dream of becoming a gentleman — and one day, under sudden and enigmatic circumstances, he finds himself in possession of “great expectations.” In this gripping tale of crime and guilt, revenge and reward, the 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.”
Well what a surprise this turned out to be and a really good one at that!
I’ve said on the blog before that I’m not a fan of classic books, having been put off by having to read them at school for O’Level English Literature. However this book has definitely changed my mind about them, and with Dickens in particular.
I knew the bare bones of this story, having seen the old black and white film staring John Mills and Alec Guinness. What I didn’t know was some of the smaller twists near to the end, and what brilliant twists they were. It made me appreciate Dickens for the brilliant writer that he is, and not the old stuffy writer I thought he was.
I felt for Pip all the way through the story, although I must admit I was quite disappointed in his snobby attitude at times. His character development was just wonderful, from innocent young boy, to man about town. Joe was wonderful, such a lovely character who cared so much about Pip, even when Pip didn’t care so much for him. Estella and Miss Havisham were such awful women, that it was nice to have Biddy as a kind counterbalance throughout the tale.
I realised last year that I prefer my Dickens as an audiobook rather than in the written form, and I love Martin Jarvis as my narrator. He was so good as all the different characters, and put his heart and soul into the telling of the story. I loved his portrayal of Pip the main character, Joe Gargery his brother-in-law cum father, Miss Havisham, Herbert Pocket his room mate in London, Wemmick and his father “The Aged Parent”.
One thing that did surprise me about this story, was that that those impossibly long descriptions that Dickens is famous for, were not so obvious in this book. Now, whether that’s because I was enjoying the story so much, or because they’re weren’t so many of them, I’m not sure, but I definitely didn’t find my mind wandering as I was listening as I did with A Tale of Two Cities.
This is definitely one of my favourite audiobooks this year, and I thoroughly recommend it if you want to try Dickens, but aren’t too sure where to start.