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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.
"No story in the first person was ever better told." --This text refers to the Paperback edition.See all Product Description
The book is very good, just the size of it is a little bit small for me to hold.Published 12 months ago by Jack Clement
This was not at all what I was looking for. I needed an actual copy of Great Expectations not the illustrated version for kids.Published 20 months ago by Kim McCaskill
This was a birthday gift for my grand daughter. She enjoyed it very much. I don't know what else to dayPublished on Aug. 14 2013 by Secondchild
book arrived in the indicated time in good condition. it was described in a clear way, so this time it was sent the book what I wanted.
Listening to the audio version of this Dickens classic is thoroughly enjoyable. The narrator, who is also the main character, addresses you directly and colours the whole story... Read morePublished on March 4 2010 by Pierre Gauthier
Reading "Great Expectations" right now after finding it in the TV room at work in camp. It is a book to be savoured, passages reread and admired. Read morePublished on Oct. 27 2009 by quartzknee