Review: Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

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Goodreads | Waterstones

An orphaned child with little or no prospects, Pip expects very little from life.
His sister makes it clear that her little brother is nothing but a burden on her. But suddenly things begin to change. Pip’s narrow existence is blown apart when he finds an escaped criminal, is summoned to visit a mysterious old woman and meets the icy beauty Estella.
Most astoundingly of all, an anonymous person gives him money to begin a new life in London. Are these events as random as they seem? Or does Pip’s fate hang on a series of coincidences he could never have expected?

Thank you to Amy for the recommendation of this one! I’ve been reading a classic per month this year from my Wordsworth editions set, but recommended to me by my friends. I’ve picked most of the classics I’ve read so far up on audio, and this one was no different. I found this one to be quite daunting as a physical version, and the audiobook felt a lot more accessible, despite it being quite a long one.

I have to say, I definitely didn’t find this as dense as I expected, and I don’t think that’s just because of the audiobook. I generally found the language easier to get through than I anticipated. Although it could be quite a hard one to focus on at times, I only had to focus on the words to find this one much easier to get on with.

Heaven knows we need never be ashamed of our tears, for they are rain upon the blinding dust of earth, overlying our hard hearts.

I really liked the characters of this story, and honestly they were one of my favourite parts of this book. I felt so emotional for Pip, especially towards the end of this book, and just generally found the characters quite likable and that I couldn’t help but root for Pip. I also feel like some of the characters had a sense of mystery around them and I enjoyed seeing how their stories intertwined throughout the book.

I also really love the writing and I like it more and more as I reflect on the book and read some of the quotes. Dickens has a way of weaving beautiful sentences and creates such emotional scenes that I know will stay with me for a while to come.

I was better after I had cried, than before–more sorry, more aware of my own ingratitude, more gentle.

I would love to re-read this in the future and I already know it is one I will come back to throughout my life, much like A Christmas Carol which I now try to re-read every year.

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

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Goodreads | Amazon

Ebenezer Scrooge is a miserly old skinflint. He hates everyone, especially children.
But at Christmas three ghosts come to visit him, scare him into mending his ways, and he finds, as he celebrates with Bob Cratchit, Tiny Tim and their family, that geniality brings its own reward.

I find it strange reading these books so late when the stories have so often been ingrained in my fellow readers lives for years. I think a lot of this also comes from my family not being massive film buffs as I grew up!

However, I still adored this story coming into it now. Although I have grown up being familiar with the story itself, I don’t remember having ever watched a movie adaptation or reading any version, other than Marley’s Ghost by David Levithan.

“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future.”

I’m so glad I’ve read this in the run-up to Christmas. Every time I sat down to read it, often on a night with my fairy lights behind me, I felt like I was being wrapped in a warm blanket and taken on a Christmassy journey. Over and over, this story warmed my heart.

I couldn’t help but smile at the pages every so often as I followed Scrooge on his story. Considering we have such a short time to get to know these characters, I quickly sympathised with Ebenezer and loved seeing how he reacted to each ghost as the book progressed.

“The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!”

I can definitely see myself re-reading this every Christmas to get in the mood. Dickens’ writing is so atmospheric and beautiful, and this is just a lovely thing to pick up on a winters night. It reminded me of snow and starlight.

★★★★★
5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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