Calling your book Great Expectations is, of course, a recipe for disappointment. Charles Dickens, ever the King of Brilliant Plots and Boring Prose, leaves you feeling like you’re waiting for water to boil. And yet it could be so awesome, what with the fugitive-convict-turned-mysterious-benefactor, and the creepy specter bride that is Miss Havisham, and her heartbreaker/cynic of an adoptive daughter. Who wouldn’t want to read that book?
Well, me, it turns out. After A Tale of Two Cities, I gave up on you, Dickens. You’re having a rainy day even in the afterlife, aren’t you? Also, why are you so obsessed with orphans?
Great Expectations is a story about karma and class. Pip’s entourage spends years repenting the not-so-terrible things they did to him, and applauding him for the not-so-admirable things he did for them. Class rears its ugly head just long enough to point out that higher social status doesn’t always mean greater happiness.
And if you can make it through the whole book without a single yawn, you’re my hero.
Is It One of the Greatest Books of All Time?
Ugh, yes. Fine. But I begrudge it.
Ask no questions and you’ll be told no lies.
According to my experience, the conventional notion of a lover cannot always be true. The unqualified truth is that, when I loved Estella with the love of a man, I loved her simply because I found her irresistible. Once for all; I knew to my sorrow, often and often, if not always that I loved her against reason, against promise, against peace, against hope, against happiness, against all discouragement that could be. Once for all; I loved her none the less because I knew it, and it had no more influence in restraining me than if I had devoutly believed her to be human perfection.