Monday, January 21, 2013

What Was I Expecting?

Charles Dickens wrote this classic as a magazine series in 1860 - 1861 and it was published as a book a year later. 153 years later, I decide that I need to read it. It is a long book, and at times I got a little impatient with the Victorian language, but the plot would then thicken, or twist, or reveal, and I would be back with all my attention. 

Pip is a young lad who is being raised by his sister and her husband, Joe, a blacksmith. The story opens with a very scary encounter with an escaped convict in a church cemetery. As I read, I began to realize that everything that happens to Pip is to be remembered because there is a reason and an outcome. 
He is taken on, by a wealthy woman, to provide company for her and her adopted daughter. Pip is smitten, even at his young age, by the beauty of Estelle, the young lady. The woman also pays Joe to apprentice Pip as a blacksmith. 
One day, he is visited by a lawyer from London to inform him that he has a benefactor who will provide huge sums of money to make him a man of substance, and thus a young man of great expectations.  The person's identity is to be kept secret until such time that he/she reveals the reasons and substance of the undertaking. 
The plot takes interesting twists and turns, and startling revelations are gradually uncovered. It is a hugely enjoyable read and the themes of love, loyalty, and of course, evil vs. good are all very evident. 
The setting and time period is also intriguing as I assume that the societal expectations of the day are true to the times. Pip, the semi-orphan, suddenly, overnight, becomes "Sir". The class structure is evident in the plot as well as in the day to day descriptions of the characters as they play out the plot. 

As I read the book, I could not help but think that Winston Churchill must have been a Charles Dickens fan. His 'turn of phrase' is very reminiscent of  Dickens' writing, very clever, witty, and taking unexpected turns within the sentence. 

This book is free on Kindle. I give it 4 stars. 

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