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on July 27, 2013
This is an abridged edition. Shame on Amazon for not saying so in the description. Fortunately this book passed into the publoc domain long ago, so you can find free editions online which are not abridged.
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on January 11, 2015
The last time I read Great Expectations, I was fifteen years old and thought it was the most boring, meandering, pointless story. I was too impatient and too young to grasp the humor, tragedy, warning, and redemption of Pip's tale. Those faults I found in Great Expectations were actually faults in me, the reader; it is with some humble gratification that I read lines of Pip admitting that the shortcomings he found in others were really projections springing from his own young (and selfish) perspective.

In some sense, Great Expectations reads like a soap opera. Each day, I recounted for my husband what had befallen Pip in my readings, and we would be as scandalized or delighted as if we were watching a daytime drama. "No she didn't!" "Oh, he's making a mistake!" Just as with a soap opera, there are far too many coincidences and overlaps to make the story fully believable, but that takes nothing from the pleasure of reading, especially when Dickens manages to infuse so much wry humor into the recounting.

The story, of course, isn't really funny. Dickens shows us Pip, as a little boy, terrorized by an escaped convict. That Pip is also an orphan and beaten by the sister who is "bringing him up by hand," is made only slightly less horrifying by the distance implied by the past-tense narrative. Pip isn't allowed to follow his Uncle's kind and humble example, but is manipulated by a little girl who is raised to be a man-eating monster. In a desperate effort to shed his "coarse" ways, Pip accepts a bequeath of wealth that is frightening in its anonymity. Pip lets the money turn him into a jerk, and he spends years dancing as a marionette to a jilted woman and her pet man-eater. When Pip learns the true nature of his benefactor, we finally see Pip make decisions based on what is right rather than on his attraction to a woman who was using him as an emotional pincushion. Great Expectations is a violent tale, and only those characters who remain humble and kind are allowed a lasting happiness.

I rarely love a book. I devour and enjoy and lust for books, but rarely do I fall in love. I am in love with Great Expectations.

Go now, get a copy of Great Expectations. May it be highlighted and annotated by a tortured high school student, a child as yet unaware that life will shatter most of our "poor dreams." Read, and be thankful that, like Pip, you have lived long enough to outgrow your own selfish youth.

PS I read the 1986 unabridged Bantam Classics edition, which is apparently meatier than this one. However, I wanted my review of the story to be available, so... here it is! If you get a chance, I recommend getting the uncut version.
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on October 16, 2013
Karol S.

It is no coincidence that this book has become a classic in every sense of the word. Charles Dickens' notable work illustrates two themes that are still held to strongly today. One theme found in the book is that the actions that one subjects to in their early life can have an impact in their future life, so it is important to make good choices at a young age. The other is the importance of keeping your expectations low to remain humble. Pip's realization of this is illustrated as his thought process evolves throughout the different phases of his life. This theme is highlighted by the effects of actions that many characters made in their early lives and how those effects impact and connect to many other characters later in the book.

As a high school student, I believe that "Great Expectations" can have a strong influence on my peers because it provides a detailed example of the ways that one's actions today can have an impact on their future. This is an especially important read for young people in my age group to understand because now, more than ever, our actions are important towards determining our future and the relationships we have with others. As a reader, I feel like Dickens does an excellent job in illustrating this theme through examples found throughout the text. Not only does the illustration of a timeless theme satisfy my reading expectations, but so does Charles Dickens use of ornate, detailed writing style. In some parts of the book, Dickens grandiose writing style has the ability to create separate allegorical stories that connect to the plot within the actual story.

Through "Great Expectations" Charles Dickens has accomplished what so many authors strive to achieve. He has provided a real world example to an important theme in the book. He has inspired many young people to make good choices during that crucial time of their life. He has used his grandiose writing style to express important subjects in the book in a way that few other authors could.

Even though one of the themes of the book is to keep your expectations low to stay humble, I must say that after reading this, my expectations for books have been made great
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on February 22, 2013
Great book! Very deep reading - life lesson with so much meaning. All members portrayed different characteristics that had a major effect in the life of Pip. Everyone should read before starting life's journey.
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on November 28, 2015
1. Pip the narrator. The story is essentially the story of Pip’s life as told by now older and wiser Pip as he reflects back on his life, the turning points and wrong decisions he made. The good , the bad and the ugly of his life. I identify with this Pip and do similar things myself.
2. Pip the protagonist. It is hard not to like the central character Pip. We see him grow up, we follow him wherever he goes, we get to hear his thoughts and empathise with his dreams and lovesick ways. We see some of ourselves in him. He makes mistakes and is annoying at times but aren’t we all?
3. The story. Unbelievable if you think about it but Dickens can make you believe the unbelievable if just for a while. As it was written in serial form there are continual tantalising developments at the end of chapters to whet your appetite for more (for example chapter XXXIV ends with the paragraph telling of the death of Mrs Joe Gargery). Each of the three parts of the novel deals with a different expectation, and we watch how Pip changes in the face of his changing expectations. The full story is not revealed until the final chapters but it is gripping all the way.
4. Characters. What an incredibly interesting group of characters with fascinating and appropriate names. Miss Havisham (HAVE A HAM), the rich eccentric who still wears her wedding dress after being jilted 25 years before. Mr Jaggers (JAG..) , the razor sharp lawyer, villains Orlick , Drummle ( a DRUM heavy abusive) and Compeyson (COME PAY ME) sound bad and the beautiful but unreachable Estella ( star). Dickens characters stick around in your mind long after you read his story.
5. Moral issues. In a time of great wealth in England there is great poverty and injustice. No one can describe these issues as well as Dickens.
6. Humour. There is a lot of excellent humour in Great Expectations. The Pocket household, which is an upside down Alice in Wonderland place run by the servants Flopson and Millers, is a good example.
7. Symbols, Imagery and allegory. The atmospherics of mists (in graveyard when he meets the convict), huge storm (when Magwitch visits), light (Joe’s forge a light across the marshes) and darkness are great in creating moods. Miss Havisham’s garden and mansion are symbols of wealth and privilege of high society. Perhaps Dickens has a message when we see they are decaying.
8. Beautiful writing. These words from the Narrator Pip say so much “ Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bind you, but for the formation of the first link on one memorable day”
9. Wealth of human issues. Crime, social class, injustice love and friendship in all its forms, bitterness and hate, unrequited love, coming of age and life’s expectations.
10. Dickensian. Dickens is to literature what Shakespeare is to plays. In the Oxford dictionary the term Dickensian is used to describe something that is reminiscent of Dickens and his writings, such as poor social conditions or comically repulsive characters.
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on May 31, 2015
Are you looking for something different to read? Like me, did you somehow fail to read this book in your years at school? Over my lifetime I have sometimes found it difficult to make my way through the older classics--mostly due to the antiquated style of language. They simply felt wordy and slushy going into them. We are trained, in this day and age, to want a faster, sharper payoff. But having recently watched a movie entitled "Mr. Pip" about a man in Papua New Guinea who takes on the overwhelming task of teaching schoolchildren during violent times, I became interested in trying Great Expectations. I am 58, and so soon I realized I had began some long time ago to read the book... was recognizing passages as I went along, for about 60 pages. Then I knew nothing, any longer, of the story.

I am happy I stuck with it. It still felt wordy to me at times, but I enjoyed relaxing and taking in the old language. I found Mr. Dickens' writing to be rich, in a way any era might respect, if using an open mind. I chuckled a hundred times, wept a few, and cheered as well. I loved its protagonists and despised its villains. It is a masterpiece for a reason. Dickens draws a character without fear or shyness of overindulgence. His people can seem almost caricatures visually... but in a most believable way per substance.

Pip's mistakes, I found, mirrored some of my own and in this way I see that time does march on even as we humans remain, well, imperfectly human. The story actually felt comforting to me. The very last paragraph left me wondering in a way that did feel like just a little bit of a letdown... but all in all I feel my time reading was truly well invested. A pleasure.
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on August 10, 2013
The story is unusual and deals with the corruption of youth and influences of evil characters on different characters. Although it is painful to read, Dickens has such genius in rendering characters, such passion, sensitivity and devotion to children and their betterment, that it is illuminating, for the world is full of people who take advantage of children.
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on November 6, 2015
This review is no reflection on Charles Dickens' Great Expectations but the edition.

This edition was produced by taking an online html text and copying and pasting it into a word processing program and then printing this public domain edition on paper. There are no indented paragraphs, the editing is minimal to the point of it not being editing. For readers new to classic nineteenth century novels like Great Expectations, this sort of page layout is very difficult to read. I can attest to this because my son found the format confusing and frustrating. It is difficult to make out when dialogue changes from one character to another. Amazon's CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform in this case is merely a copy and paste job based on a public domain text. Amazon should be ashamed of this. I do not know about the other CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform texts, but this text is atrocious. And the idea of placing it in a line of much better editions is misleading. This edition is well priced and sold through amazon and so will reduce the chances of purchasing a much better addition. Especially for people on a budget purchasing a number of books to make the free shipping minimum. An edition of a novel, even if the book is in public domain like so much "classic" literature, deserves the minimum attention to the overall layout on a page. This edition is awful.
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on October 1, 2015
One of the best books ever written, this book shows how our individual theories on why persons known to us behave. It also shows how the exuberance of youth, when we believe ourselves to be immortal, must be tempered. This tempering can only come with life experience and its necessary companion, time. The nature of how we humans relate to one another is also explored in various ways. The story also shows that experience can be a painful, even brutal teacher. The entire story is a contrast in what we seem to see (and therefore assume) and the truth of reality. I wish that I had read this book at a much younger age. (I would have given it five stars, but some parts are a bit lengthy and hard to read.)
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on February 9, 2016
My Favorite Novel of all Time.
I read this when I was younger and have read it a couple times a year ever since. It's a beautiful tale. If you are a fan of Dickens, I feel that this is his best work. I love David Copperfield and many others but this novel is my favorite. When young Pip, an orphan boy goes out on the marshes one day to visit the grave of his deceased parents, he comes face to face with a starving convict who will forever change his life in ways that unfold throughout the story.
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