21 January 2011

Book Review 3: Great Expectations by Charles Dickens.





" . . .suffering has been stronger than all other teaching, and has taught me to understand what your heart used to be. I have been bent and broken, but - I hope - into a better shape."

- Charles Dickens, Great Expectations


I first encountered Great Expectations when its movie version was released in 1998. I liked how Ethan Hawke and Gwyneth Paltrow played the role and the film's melodramatic and theatrical rendition. After watching the movie,  I told my self that  I will read the original book someday. That day has come.  I bought a used copy on book sale for 150 Pesos.

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens is story of a poor orphaned boy named Pip who lived with his sister and her blacksmith husband named Joe. His uncle would sometimes bring him to the house of a wealthy but psychologically disturbed Miss Havisham to play with her beautiful adopted daughter named Estella. One day, a lawyer went to young Pip's house to bring a news that would change his life forever. A secret benefactor left Pip a large sum of money to go to  Britain and pursue his dream of becoming a wealthy learned man. Who was this secret benefactor?  This becomes part of his great expectations. As the story unfolds, he discovers the true value kindness, loyalty, friendship, love, and dreams.

What I like about Great Expectations is the well developed characters. Pip's personality is consistent throughout the story. The back stories of the characters are deep and interesting. The personality of Pip is someone who most of us can relate to.  The things he wanted out of life are not uncommon. He is hopeful that his status in  life will change for the better; and that one day, the girl of his dreams Estella, will love him back. The story builds up and surprises you with unexpected twists.

Great Expectations shows the value of being human. Loyalty, kindness, and love are priceless. The story also teaches humility. Man is measured not in terms of money, power or acclaim, but how he treats those who have less in life, specially family and friends.

After reading the book, I realized that I have my own economic expectations in life. But at the end of the day,  the finest things in life are not those that money can buy -- love, trust, and kindness (the intangibles) are what truly counts. As Forrest Gump once said, "...Momma said there's only so much fortune a man really needs and the rest is just for showing off..."


Bottom line:

Should you probably read this book?

Short answer: Yes.

Favorite Quote:

"In a word, I was too cowardly to do what I knew to be right, as I had been too cowardly to avoid doing what I knew to be wrong." 

- Charles Dickens, Great Expectations


This forms part of a list of books I aim to read this year.

UP NEXT!: Probably Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Charles Dodgson...


1. Maya by Jostein Gaarder - REVIEWED
2. Anansi Boys - Neil Gaiman - REVIEWED
3. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens- REVIEWED
4. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Charles Lutwidge Dodgson
5. A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
6. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
7. The Godfather by Mario Puzo
8. The Brothers Karamazov by  Feodor Dostoevsky
9. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
10.One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
11. Noli Me Tangere in English by Jose Rizal (can you believe it?) :)
12. Ulysses by James Joyce

16 comments:

gillboard said...

ang bilis mo magbasa ng libro ah.

ako i have 3 books parked in my room waiting to be touched and/or finished.

Rah said...

Pag may time, mabilis talaga, magbasa :) I read everywhere, while sleeping, while eating, while taking dump, while walking, inside the train, habang tumatawid sa daan. :)

Anong mga libro ang nakapark sa bookshelf niyo sir gilboard?

gillboard said...

i have the 3rd book sa Hunter Games ni Suzanne Collins, The Girl Who Played With Fire, isang Filipino book, tapos old ones na di ko pa tapos basahin (Kapitan Sino, Have A Little Faith, Absolute Friends) dami pa pala. :D

khantotantra said...

sino kaya yung benefactor? hehe. na-excite naman ako.

try ko ngang mahanap yan sa booksale. :D

pusang kalye said...

ito na.umaatikabong book reviews na ito at Charles Dickens na ang nakasalang. sila yung mga authors na tipong nagpapalutong na ng mga brain cells ko---nagiging parang popcorn na at malapit nang pumutok. shoot nalang. more pics ni d90!!!hahaha

Skron said...

Damn. Didn't you just read and reviewed Anasi Boys? You read fast.

mots said...

s charles ay bahagi na ng high school life oh my high school life.

in fairness, ansipag mo ngang magbasa. natambakan na ko ng babasahin

Leah said...

Wow naman... ambilis magbasa. Ilang books na ba natapos mo? 3 na yata, ano? Tsk.. ako, depende na lang din sa book. Kapag.. feel ko yung story (suspense thrillers), dire-diretso na yan.. Pero pag hindi naman, inaabot ako ng ilang araw.. minsan, weeks.. hehe.. =)

Great Expectaions... Diba, may movie adaptation na yan? Or.. baka mali lang ako..

My Tasty Treasures
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pmm012 said...

wow, you're really in to classics.. nice! siguro try ko din minsan..

Rah said...

@khanto - sa booksale meron ako nakita Great Expectations na childrens book, complete with illustration 40 pesos lang sa SM manila :) Hehe sana yon nalang binili ko. :)

@pusang kalye - sige post ako ng next time puro pics naman ni Dina d90, kaya bukas siguro.. mejo marasakit narin ang ulo ko mag basa eh, maiba naman.

@Skron - I started reading great expectations 2 weeks ago. Nauna ko pa natapos actually yung great expectations. Madali lang basahin yung Anansi Boys, malaki kasi yung font. Yung sa great expectations kasi, microscopic yung print. Kaya mabilis.

@mots Ako naman ang high school literature books ko The Pearl ni John Steinbeck tsaka yung John Livingston Seagull hehe. Siguro kung nag charles dickens ako nung hs ko, nabaliw siguro ako. Ang haba eh.

@leah oo, naka tatlo narin so far, ako nga mismo nasusurprise sa bilis ko magbasa. E pano ba naman, umaabsent ako sa school para magbasa ng nobela INSTEAD na magbasa ako ng librong pang school. Ako naman, pagnasimulan ko na, kahit boring, tinutuloy ko parin. Sumasakit kasi yung puson ko pag bitin :) hehehe

@pmm012 Pili ka lang ng libro na gustong gusto gusto mo lang basahin, pero hindi mo magawa. :) mas may motivation pag ganon eh. I got mine from top 100 books of all time. Tas gawa ka din ng review ha.

EMOTERA said...

Wow! (ako din napa - wow!) Nice post. Thanks for sharing. Interesting talaga tong book na ito. Pero yun nga lang, hindi ako masipag magbasa. :) Buti nalang, may review ka about this book. :D Sige I'll check your next post :)

sterndal said...

looking forward sa review mo ng the great gatsby. di ko matapos tapos eh. hehehe

Leah said...

Wahahaha!!! Natawa naman ako sa comment mo sa comment ko. (ano raw?!?).. Haha! Buti naman, di ka nahuli ng prof mo.. nagbabasa ka nyan instead ng school books. Hehe.. Sabagay, diskarte lang naman yan eh.. diba? Hehe...

Yun lang.. nag comment lang ulit. Hihi..

P.S.
Wait ko yung review mo sa "Alice.."

Layla said...

Great Expectations, astig. Good thing, hindi Bleak House ang binasa mo. Masyadong depressing, sobra.

Hehe. Di ko pa nababasa yung Lolita. Curious ako.

rohit said...

Must be an enjoyable read Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. loved the way you wrote it. I find your review very genuine and orignal, this book is going in by "to read" list.

Matthew (The Bibliofreak) said...

I think you're right, Pip is a character who a lot of people can relate to. We might not all have behaved exactly as he did, but we empathise with his motivations and his moral blindness. Nice review.

My review: Great Expectations by Charles Dickens