I really want to say it, so as cheesy as it is, let me have my moment: I really didn’t have great expectations for this book.
OK, now that’s out of the way I can tell you what I really thought of it.
This was my first ever Dickens that I’ve read cover to cover and I was incredibly impressed. It’s a long book (I know you probably get sick of hearing that from me) but Dickens made me realise that (in the case of novels that span a significant amount of time) length really does matter.
It took me a long time to get through the 484 pages – sixty-five days in fact – and I found myself in the habit of setting small goals and rewarding myself for chapters finished. I have to read 5 more pages before falling asleep (never worked), or if I get to the end of this chapter I can have a bowl of icecream (all the icecream was eaten well before the end of the book).
But despite these challenges, I loved the story. The main character Pip is just a delight. The tale begins with him as a 7-year-old, an orphan living with his poor sister and her husband in Kent, England. The book follows his journey growing up and develops all of the characters around him in such detail they all begin to feel like family members. Dickens points out the irony of class society in comical ways, which is relief for the deeper and more disturbing themes in the book: violence, poverty, corruption and grief.
There are 5 other books by Dickens on my 100 book challenge list… and I look forward to seeing what characters Dickens has cooked up for me in those.
In July 2014 I set myself the challenge to finish 100 must-read books before I die. For my ongoing tally click here.