I don't think I could ever read this book again brilliant as it was. I struggled to work out a rating for this book finally settling for five stars based on the overall quality of the book. While I felt the book dragged at the start I personally worked through the opening to eventually fly through the middle and end of the book.
Great Expectations was a tale of retribution and a tale of love; a story of repentance and forgiveness; a journey between the incongruous elements of light and dark; a hauntingly written novel full of beauty, lyricism, wit and humour. It could be seen as a social commentary or a journey charting the rising and falling of the protagonist but above all it is a powerful piece of entertainment.
Dickens (as per usual) weaves a tight plot whereby all the elements ultimately appear to weave back into themselves. However unlike modern contemporary writers he does not weave it into a fairytale but rather a more realistic exploration of his main character Pip and his encounters with society's various echelons.
For Pip does meet very memorable characters. In fact I would rate Dicken's characters here to be as memorable as those in A Christmas Carol. From the convict at the start, to Miss Havisham, to Joe, to Estela, to Mr Jaggers to the central character himself Pip. Each are described with such care and dedication that they seem real to the reader. And there are many others beyond thoae equally potent as figures on the stage of Great Expectations.
Ultimately for me the message of Dicken's work was that despite human expectations life will attempt to tear down your cleverly crafted world. Whether that destruction forms itself in a love interest, a convict or a close friend's interactions. It really was Murphy's Law in action throughout much of the book. Yet in the end the story was about characters picking themselves up despite such failings.
Still that ending!!! You Mr Dickens are laughing at me from the grave like Mr Ludlum
with your ending. Sure it will make the book stick around in my mind but why... There's nothing more sorrowful than unrequited love and to end it on that note cuts all the happiness. Such a...smug genius who wants to make me sad and feel like I've lost out on something.
However this book was brilliant and haunting. And one of a few books I can claim that have made me truly sad. Actually one of the few books to take me on a full emotional journey. And so despite Dickens' taunting ending I loved this book although I may not be able to read it ever again.