TITLE: GREAT EXPECTATIONS
AUTHOR: CHARLES DICKENS
Details: Bookclub read/E-Book
Great Expectations is the story of Pip. When we first meet him he is a seven year old orphan, being raised by his violent sister and her kind husband, Joe Gargary, a blacksmith.
When young Pip encounters an escaped convict, the latter scares the boy into stealing food, drink and a file for him.
When Pip and Joe are later present when the convict is recaptured, the man lies and claims to have stolen the goods himself. The convict also manages to have two pounds given to Pip, showing his gratitude and kindness. Pip however will feel guilty about the theft for a long time.
Pip's life changes profoundly when he's introduced to Miss Havisham, a middle aged lady who stopped living her life the exact minute her fiance dumped her on what should have been her wedding day.
Still wearing her now destroyed wedding gown, living in perpetual gloom and in the middle of the remnants of the wedding that never was, Miss Havisham is raising Estella, a very beautiful and cold-hearted orphan.
Pip is instantly entranced by Estella although she is only cruel to him and lets him know she thinks him a backwards country boy. From then on, Pip is dissastisfied with his life and his probable future as a country blacksmith, his big dream being to become a gentleman.
When, through a solicitor, he learns that he has Great Expectations and is to go to London to become a gentleman, it seems that Pip's dreams have come true and that he may yet get close to Estella.
The revalation of the indentity of his benefactor shatters all of Pip's illusions again, but also teaches him valuable lessons about trust, honesty, loyalty, friendship and gives him a chance to redeem himself.
This is a good story and it's clear why it has stood the test of time as well as it has. It is also rather two dimensional by todays standards and very much a moral tale.
The strange thing was that althrough reading the book I felt that not a whole lot was happening, only to discover now that I'm trying to summarize the story that in fact a lot took place. The pacing of the book is very deceptive in this respect.
I think I will be reading more classics, especially now that I have my E-Book Reader and access to free downloads. But, not too many and not too close together.
And a quick note on using the E-Reader for the first time.
Initially it took some getting used to, especially since the pages on the device hold far less words than those in a regular book do (it's almost 4 pages for every 1). This means that you move on from one page to the next at a rather high speed. But, I got used to this fairly quickly and after a short while I stopped noticing it. I like that I can adjust the size of the letters and I found that the screen and the spacing between lines were perfect for a relaxed and friendly on the eyes read. I can see myself using my reader a lot more, especially when travelling.