I read my first Dickens as a kid in school and it was not an experience I will forget in a hurry. Those sentences so long that by the time they got over, not only had the page run out, so had your memory and you had to go back all the way to the beginning just to remember what you were reading about. Not to mention all those words that you’d neither heard before nor heard of before; and it doesn’t matter how old you are, at some point you always feel like you’re missing out on something. Moral of the story, reading a Dickensian novel is no mean task.
And yet, the images that’ll stay with you long after you close the covers of the book are worth all that and more.
For instance, I’d have to say, the scene where Pip first meets Miss Havisham is one of the most abiding scenes I’ve ever read in Literature. I still have the image of her sitting in her old wedding dress in a dank room, the clock frozen at an hour years ago and the food on the table covered by cobwebs thick as a cloth … and it doesn’t take much imagination to guess what Pip must have felt like standing in front of her in his Sunday best. Or the scene where Pip shares a meal with an escaped convict in a marshy graveyard. Or even images of a cold, distrustful, smog filled London through a young Pip’s eyes.
Great Expectations, the tale of young Pip whose chance encounter with an escaped convict changed his life is one of the masterpieces of English Literature and the reason you should read it are more than this humble review can hope to give.
And if you’re lost at the end of page 1 … go get yourself an abridged version and maybe you can catch the view with Pip and Estella at the ruins of the Satis House with just the hint of the promise of a future together.
Can I dare rate Charles Dickens?