Michelle Friedman's Review of Great Expectations

"Who is Charles Dickens?" Said no one ever.

Charles Dickens is one of the most known and highly regarded authors of the 19th century. If you haven't heard of "Great Expectations", you may have heard the titles: "A Tale of Two Cities", "Oliver Twist", "A Christmas Carol", and many more. “Great Expectations has been turned into several movies, but the most recent of all was in 2012. This story was popular when it was written and it quite popular today. It is considered to be one of America’s “timeless classics”.

The encounters and events are told from the point of view of Pip, a young boy. The readers follow Pip’s journey as he becomes a gentleman and learns the most important life lessons he will ever learn. We begin our journey with Pip when he is just a young boy, about six years old. As time goes by Pip dreams of a different life. He lives with his aunt and uncle-in-law. Then, through some unexpected turn of events, Pip moves away from his dingy, poor home and into the fancy neighborhoods of London. That is when Pip meets new, rich, and popular people. He learns about different individuals along with different sides of himself that he had never known before. Through these revelations and more, Pip falls in and out of love and hatred. He battles himself when he is faced with choices that might decide the fate of his fellows; and apart from that, Pip needs to work harder than ever to reenforce connection with Joe, his uncle-in-law because of his foolish behavior earlier.

I believe that the best character in this story is Estella Havisham. She has clearly been through so many emotional obstacles. Miss Havisham, her (somewhat) mother, had exploited her and molded Estella into a fierce and cold woman. Though Estella had seemed cruel for a very long time, she is the character that receives most, if not all, of my pity and compassion because she had to live a life of deception and bullying simply because of what Miss Havisham had endured as a young woman.

If you ask a random group of readers what they have taken away from any book and you will get a million different answers. For me, this book was about finding yourself, becoming the person you want to be, and understanding those closest to you just about as much as you possibly can. I think I speak for most readers of  “Great Expectations” when I say that this book contained so many controversial ideas and equally as many inspirational and life-like events. Overall this book is magnificently written and brilliantly articulated.

As a very young boy, Pip meets people who are smarter, have more money, nicer houses, better clothes, and better etiquette. These people happen to be the Havishams, and they are not very kind towards Pip. As a result of these meetings, Pip starts to feel ashamed of his family and lifestyle. He is ready to do just about anything to become smarter, nicer looking, and just like the higher-class people that he continues to meet. I used to attend a very small and private Jewish day school where nearly everybody lived in huge houses, had fancy cars, pretty clothes, and basically had many more items than I did. I know for a fact that I am not the only person who has ever felt jealous in their lives, but Pip and I were constantly around these people who led (seemingly) better lives than we did. Consequently, we wanted the same life. I know that if you, or anybody, were in the same situation you would experience some of the same feelings that we did too.

I would, without a doubt, recommend this book to just about anybody. It has a great plot with much suspense and foreshadow. Charles Dickens is not one of the best known authors for nothing. He has a knack for describing everything in such a way that you will visualize it instantaneously. The only set back when reading any novel by this magnificent man is that he uses slightly too many words for my liking. Nevertheless, this is a terrific classic that will take you on a journey through a young boys life.