Saturday, October 9, 2010

Great Expectations

Book:  Great Expectations
Author:  Charles Dickens
Like/Don't Like:  I think Dickens and I would be BFF

I have said it before and I will say it until I die:  teenagers shouldn't read Dickens.  What a horrible way to treat both the kids and the author.  Great Expectations was the first Dickens book I ever read and it completely turned me off to him for years and years.  I was a freshman in high school and all I can remember of it is Miss Havisham in her wedding dress and the cake full of critters.  And also that I was bored out of my mind.  Because I was 14 and dumb.  14 year olds don't get Dickens.  How can they?  He's so subtle and dry and his stories weave in and out of dozens of characters' lives.  What 14 year old has that sort of attention span?  I wish that I had been introduced to him in college.  All it would have taken for me to be completely smitten was a few more years under my belt.  But instead I spent almost 20 years thinking he was the biggest bore.

Well, I love him now.  I think we would be the best of friends if we were ever in the same neighborhood, or century.  He's just so funny.  So because I love him I thought I'd go back to the book that started it all and see if my impression of it had evolved beyond, "Ugh, lame."  It has.  I thought it was clever and, proving that my memory for books is non-existent, everything was a surprise.  I remembered that Miss Havisham went up in flames, but other than that I kept gasping and saying, "Really?!"  I love that he ties everything up in a nice bow at the end.  Everyone gets what they deserve.  Good people learn lessons and end up happier and wiser than before.  I never worry that his stories will end poorly, which is a relief sometimes in reading.

Plus, there are always a one or two characters that are just so endearing.  Wemmick was the one this time.  He lives in a teeny castle, complete with a moat and tends to his old father, whom he calls The Aged Parent, sometimes shortened just to Aged or Aged P.  My Dad can consider himself warned that I will be calling him this in the near future.


Lisa said...

I just saw this play the other day, it was amazing! I'm glad you liked the read :)

Rach said...

I read it a few months ago, and I think I need to read it again when I'm not being interrupted by little kids, because I read it in short chunks, and had a hard time sticking with it. I also loved Wemmick. He was my favorite part of the book.

Anonymous said...

OMG! I H-A-T-E-D this story in high school! Yawn! I haven't read another Dickens story since my freshman year and have no plans of doing so in the near future because of this story. I'm glad you made ammends with it. You're a bigger person than I am.

Susan Bergreen

Tom said...

I was kind of dissapointed because I was hoping for so much more. I guess you could say I had "great expectations." Sorry about that-I've never read it, but I love Dickens movies on the BBC.

Erika said...

Good to know! I read a Tale of Two Cities for pleasure during summer break of college and am not sure I like Dickens. I liked the romanticism of the story but I thought there was too much extra fluff to get to the point. Glad to know you liked this one.

Laurel said...

I love Dickens.