Book #57: Great Expectations

I’m becoming a Charles Dickens fiend.

I never liked him that much until after college, and now I’m not sure why. I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve read by him for this project (which, I suppose, is only two books. But whatever).

Somehow, I made it through sixteen years of education without reading Great Expectations. This is an even bigger accomplishment (or lack thereof?) because my father really likes Dickens. But anyway, somehow I hadn’t read this book until now.

What struck me most about Great Expectations was the book’s simplicity. It’s written in fairly straightforward language, without many added twists or details. Since I’m used to books like A Tale of Two Cities and the dreaded Hard Times, this was surprising. Great Expectations seemed very ‘trimmed down’ to me. There weren’t many flowery sentences, huge philosophical musings, or sentences that went on and on and turned into mazes that you couldn’t really find your way out of.

I liked that.

I was able to focus on the plot and enjoy. I liked the characters and I was really interested in the story, first and foremost. Usually with Dickens, even though I like him, I’m so “busy” with other aspects of the book (good quotes, confusing sections, important stuff to analyze) that the plot and the characters become secondary, other than when I need to analyze them for other purposes. In this case, it felt like Dickens just let Great Expectations be. Sure, there was important stuff to think about, but thinking about it didn’t detract from the book for me.

Great Expectations, for mehad a lot of the same quality as Ray Bradbury books. The symbolism and “real” point were there. They weren’t obvious, but they were easy to find and understand in a way that makes reading really fun.

Rating: *****
Up Next:
 Jack Maggs

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