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Great Expectations (cd) Audio CD – Audiobook, Unabridged


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Product Details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Penguin Audio UK; Unabridged edition (Jan. 28 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141804483
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141804484
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 2.4 x 14.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 181 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (363 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #444,216 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

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Dickens considered Great Expectations one of his "little pieces," and indeed, it is slim compared to such weighty novels as David Copperfield or Nicholas Nickleby. But what this cautionary tale of a young man raised high above his station by a mysterious benefactor lacks in length, it more than makes up for in its remarkable characters and compelling story. The novel begins with young orphaned Philip Pirrip--Pip--running afoul of an escaped convict in a cemetery. This terrifying personage bullies Pip into stealing food and a file for him, threatening that if he tells a soul "your heart and your liver shall be tore out, roasted and ate." The boy does as he's asked, but the convict is captured anyway, and transported to the penal colonies in Australia. Having started his novel in a cemetery, Dickens then ups the stakes and introduces his hero into the decaying household of Miss Havisham, a wealthy, half-mad woman who was jilted on her wedding day many years before and has never recovered. Pip is brought there to play with Miss Havisham's ward, Estella, a little girl who delights in tormenting Pip about his rough hands and future as a blacksmith's apprentice.

I had never thought of being ashamed of my hands before; but I began to consider them a very indifferent pair. Her contempt for me was so strong, that it became infectious, and I caught it.
It is an infection that Pip never quite recovers from; as he spends more time with Miss Havisham and the tantalizing Estella, he becomes more and more discontented with his guardian, the kindhearted blacksmith, Joe, and his childhood friend Biddy. When, after several years, Pip becomes the heir of an unknown benefactor, he leaps at the chance to leave his home and friends behind to go to London and become a gentleman. But having expectations, as Pip soon learns, is a two-edged sword, and nothing is as he thought it would be. Like that other "little piece," A Tale of Two Cities, Great Expectations is different from the usual Dickensian fare: the story is dark, almost surreal at times, and you'll find few of the author's patented comic characters and no comic set pieces. And yet this is arguably the most compelling of Dickens's novels for, unlike David Copperfield or Martin Chuzzlewit, the reader can never be sure that things will work out for Pip. Even Dickens apparently had his doubts--he wrote two endings for this novel. --Alix Wilber --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Review

"No story in the first person was ever better told." --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on Oct. 12 2003
Format: Paperback
Looking at the reviews for this book, it seems many are reading this book for the first time, as I did, as part of an English Literature course in high school.
Believe me, we can all assure you that this can be a difficult book for a ninth grader to enjoy. After all, we're talking about blacksmiths, pirates, and so on. Hardly things the average teenager of the 2000s can relate to.
But if you're in your twenties, thirties, or forties, this book is as compelling a novel as you'll ever read. It's an opportunity to look back at Pip and ourselves, the great expectations we all have, and the major surprises, disappointments, and regrets of life.
The adult reader can understand the vindictiveness of Miss Havisham, the pride of Magwitch, the true and rare friendship of Herbert Pocket, and, of course, Estella. Each man has in his life an Estella.
Beyond the true-to-life tale of hope and defeat, is the wry humor throughout the book that a more mature reader can appreciate.
Surprise yourself. If you hated this in high school, pick it up now; you may find this is one of the best books you ever read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Anne Rice on June 5 2004
Format: Paperback
Why do I come here to "review" this? It isn't anyone's book club selection, no. But tonight I want to talk about this incomparably rich and wonderful book, and how as a fourteen year old kid I simply sank into it, taking it slowly week by week, glorying in its mysteries, its great grotesque portrait of Miss Havisham in her rotting bridal finery, its often painful recounting of a young boy's awakening to a seductive world beyond the blacksmith's forge to which destiny has condemned him. This book was about me. It was about wanting to learn, wanting to transcend, wanting to achieve while anything and everything seems hopelessly beyond one's dreams. Of course life changes for Pip. And the world Pip enters was a world that dazzled me and only made my adolescent ambitions burn all the more hurtfully. I think this book is about all who've ever tried for more, ever reached for the gold ring -- and it's about some, of course, who've gotten it. It's also a wondrous piece of storytelling, a wondrous example of how in the first person ("I am, etc." ) a character can tell you more about himself than he himself knows. What a feat. And a very strange thing about this book, too, was the fact that Dickens said more about Pip and Pip's dreams than Dickens knew he was doing. Dickens himself didn't quite realize, I don't think, the full humanity of the character he created. Yet the character is there -- alive, captivating, engaging us throughout with full sympathy. Go for it. If you never read anything else by Charles Dickens, read and experience this book. Afterwards, David Copperfield will be a ride in the sunshine, I assure you. And both books will stand by you forever. For whom am I writing this? For myself perhaps just because Pip meant and still means so much. For some one perhaps who's unsure about this book and needs a push to dive into a classic. Oh, is this book ever worth the effort. -. Enough. Read it, know it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Rocco Dormarunno on Oct. 30 2003
Format: Paperback
Why, in God's name, do high school teachers insist on stuffing this complex novel down the throats of their teen-aged students? Because the initial chapters are narrated by, Pip, a little boy we watch become a young man? Because there are pirates and bad guys in it? Because there's a sort of love story? I'm sure some high schoolers understand GREAT EXPECTATIONS but the majority of them... I don't think so.
GREAT EXPECTATIONS contains many complicated, adult themes and issues that adults will surely appreciate. A virtual encyclopedia of human emotions--fear, child abuse, anticipation, disappointment, love, jealousy, manipulation--this greatest of all of Dickens' novels has everything. And all these ingredients are woven into an incredibly entangled plot, full of twists and turns. On top of all that, the novel is also a virtual encyclopedia of the layout and attitudes of Victorian London.
Holding it all together is Pip's incredible perceptions into his world and his emotions. Never before had there been a character so aware of his feelings and, still, because he is human, he allows these emotions to sometimes compel him to do the opposite of what is right and best. Pip does sometimes behave like the child and young adult he is, but that doesn't mean this novel is suitable for anyone of that age.
Rocco Dormarunno, author of The Five Points
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bill McCullah on June 2 2005
Format: Hardcover
During the course of the year I try to read a few, "Important Novels" in order to get a fuller understanding of literature. Dicken's GREAT EXPECTATIONS has been on my list for nearly a year. I completely dreaded reading what I thought would be a long and drawn out story about something I could careless about. Well, I was wrong. Normally I go for a bestseller such THE MERMAID CHAIR or McCrae's CHILDREN'S CORNER, but went for this classic instead.
GREAT EXPECTATIONS is now #1 on my all-time favorites list. While, admittedly, it took me roughly 150 pages to get any enjoyment out of the novel- once I was in- I was hooked. Pip's journey through life is a very refreshing look at how distorted we let our lives become by focusing on the unimportant. Dicken's ability to slowly alter Pip's views on life, without changing his essential character/morales (Ex. How Pip looks to help his friend in his business pursuits). Some have called "Great Expecations" his masterpiece... but in my opinion, it may be the "Masterpiece" of English Literature.
I also wonder why this is required High School reading. While I loved this book at age 28, I think most 16 year-olds would find it unbearable. It seems like such a waist to ruin both the book and Dicken's name on minds that are not ready for such a reading task. Would also highly recommend two other books: LIFE OF PI and a book titled BARK OF THE DOGWOOD.
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