Pip, a poor orphan being raised by a cruel sister, does not have much in the way of great expectations between his terrifying experience in a graveyard with a convict named Magwitch and his humiliating visits with the eccentric Miss Havisham's beautiful but manipulative niece, Estella, who torments him until he is elevated to wealth by an anonymous benefactor. Full of unforgettable characters, Great Expectations is a tale of intrigue, unattainable love, and all of the happiness money can't buy.
Great Expectations has the most wonderful and most perfectly worked-out plot for a novel in the English language, according to John Irving, and J. Hillis Miller declares, Great Expectations is the most unified and concentrated expression of Dickens's abiding sense of the world, and Pip might be called the archetypal Dickens hero.
Public Domain ©2010 Listening Library
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"Great Expectations for Great Expectations"
This is the first time I ever read Dickens. Of course, many of his books' plots are well known and this one, for me, was lesser known, so I chose this one. I really wanted it when I saw that John Lee narrates. I am completely in love with his voice, and this book he stretched his acting chops maybe a bit more than in other books...but I enjoyed that. So, 5 of 5 stars for John Lee!
I won't go into plot points here, but I must say that I found the major twist in the book to be totally expected. I guessed it at least 5 hours before it was revealed, so that was slightly disappointing for me. I like to be kept on my toes. I thought the whole bit in the beginning of the book was quite humorous and was quite delighted with that. But then...
It becomes a funeral dirge for the last third of the book. People told me to expect that with Dickens, so I wasn't surprised and I am certainly not going to quibble about Dickens, but it just did not hold my attention. It took me a long time to get though the last third because I kept falling asleep. As noted above, I like to be kept on my toes.
So, while I am not unhappy that I read Great Expectations, I probably would never return to it. I can't imagine this book keeping my attention without John Lee's expert voice bringing the characters to life, but over all, I would give the book 3 of 5 stars and the narration 5 of 5 stars....hence the 4 star review for the listening experience, overall. I guess I had.... Great Expectations for this book. (sorry! couldn't resist!)
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