Great Expectations–Expect a Great Read

Great Expectations

By Charles Dickens

Published Dec 1860-Aug 1861 serially

Published Aug 1861 in 3 volumes

Read Aug 2016

This reader very belatedly provides just a brief word about this magnificent work.  Apparently (1), in Aug 1860 Dickens formulated the basic plot for a “little piece” about an orphan boy who befriends a convict who later makes a fortune and anonymously supports the orphan through his education; the convict bequeaths the fortune to the boy but it is lost to the Crown.  Then in Sept 1860 Dickens needed to do something to save his weekly publication “All the Year Round” so began writing and publishing the story as he wrote it over the course of about a year. It was wildly successful.  It was later published in three volumes. 

This reader listened to the book while doing a summer of house painting.  What a wonderful way to ease the monotony of this must-do task!  The book introduces us to Pip, a seven-year-old orphan who lives with his much older sister and her husband, Joe.  In the first chapter, Pip encounters a convict, Magwitch, in a cemetery and is convinced to provide him some bread and a tool.  Pip’s life includes many twists and turns.  He is chosen to visit the spinster Miss Havisham and her adopted daughter.  Pip assumes it is Miss Havisham who has decided to pay for his tuition and living expenses to attend school and leave being a blacksmithing apprentice to Joe.  It is many chapters until we learn this isn’t the case.  And many more chapters of adventure, mystery, unrequited love, clashes of values, that tell what happens there after. 

This reader won’t give away any more of the plot and will conclude by saying this is a delightful book about a generally good character who lives through many ups and downs and remains hopeful.    

(1) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Expectations accessed 2021-11-04

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