‘Great Expectations’ by Charles Dickens

Finally! Wait, let me try this again, FINALLY I’m done. I read all of my 597 pages of ‘Great Expectations’ and it only took me a couple of months and a detour through circa 6 other books to do so but I’m still proud of it. Let’s face it, this is not the most interesting or fascinating novel in the world.

I don’t really feel comfortable bashing a ‘classic’ so I will try to keep it to a minimum. The prose itself was nice and I can’t say anything bad about it, which is more than you can say for other novel (YES, I’m looking at you 50 Shades of Grey!!). But the storyline, REALLY?

Pip is a sweet boy and all but he is utterly boring. How can you make such a dull person the narrator of such a long book in which almost nothing happens. I fully understand this is not an action novel, I never assumed it would be, but still, he lives, he dreams of Estella, gets the prospect of money, loses all and finally grows up to become a decent guy. Maybe it’s me, because I have a weird animosity against heros (I dislike Harry and Frodo. Feel free to judge me).

The only time I ever thought the storyline would pick up was about 2/3 in when Estella and Miss Havisham have a fight but to my disappointment that was over fast and all went back to normal. Nothing really surprised me. Of course, I thought that Miss Havisham was Pip’s sponsor but it would have been way to easy so there had to be a twist. It turns out the sponsor is someone else and I’m not really shocked to see who it is either.

In the end, everything just was constructed too well for me. The sponsor turns out to be Estella’s long lost father, who was the partner of the man that broke Miss Havisham and so on. There are no loose ends, nothing out of the ordinary. Hell, there was not even a real romance in it. Pip is so in love with Estella for eternity but they never end up together, not even close. He just stays a bachelor until the bitter end.

I think I said everything that came to my mind after finishing the novel. I planned it well though, because I just received a parcel with my latest order off amazon so I can continue reading. Well, I still could have done so, but ‘The Hobbit’ can wait a little while longer until I figure out whether I like the Rizzoli&Isles series by Tess Gerritsen and after I gave Patricia Cornwell another try.

So long, I leave you with one of my favourite Chandler moments from FRIENDS where he just has broken up with Janice (um, the first time?!) because I feel a bit like him after shelving ‘Great Expectations’ for good.

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  • lol Yeah, that’s gotta be the first breakup.

    I am so not into classics. I have a standing rule (right now, anyway) not to read anything from before 1900. I know I’m missing out on a LOT of stuff, but I just find it so hard to get through the text. With Dickens there’s just so darn MUCH of it, and the further back in history you go, the further removed from modern English it becomes, and the harder it is to actually enjoy the story without getting bombarded with unfamiliar words and phrases and just generally distracted by the language.

    I’m sure I won’t keep this rule forever, but for now it’s serving me well.

    • I once thought that it was a good thing to go through the classics but I don’t think so anymore. Even though there are some nice ones out there, a lot of them are not worth a reading at the moment.

      I totally get what you mean about the language, which is why I read this in german. I have my sincerest problems with the way they wrote back then which is probably why I never got through Persuasion and Sense and Sensibility. I need to read them translated to fully enjoy them as much as it pains me to say it.

      • Oh, I believe it. Actually I was wondering about that, given that I’m a native English speaker and still don’t know what they’re saying half the time. Can I get a 21st-Century translation?

        • YES, please. I was wondering if it just was due to the low price Penguin Popular Classics series that they’re printed that way or not. I guess there are no classics out there in plain ‘normal’ english right? :( So for once, I’ll be sticking to my translations because then I at least understand all that I’m reading.
          Glad not to be alone with my troubles in understanding them then :-)

  • I often contemplate reading the classics. I know I was bored to death when we were forced to read them in school. But now I figure that I’m (alot) older, that I may understand the stories better, and might enjoy them if I’m not being forced to read them. Most of them are free on the Kindle. So, I downloaded Oliver Twist, got through about a quarter of it, and can’t bring myself to go on! It sounds like Great Expectations would be even worse. Since my Expectations aren’t to Great for that book, I don’t think I’ll try forcing myself to read it.

    • Yep, I thought I should give Dickens another try but I figure I’m still not old enough to appreciate his stories.