Title: Great Expectations
Author: Charles Dickens
Publisher: Wordsworth Classics
This was my first full length novel by Dickens. I picked this one as my first for two reasons: it's one of the most famous ones, as well as one of his shorter novels. Perhaps the latter shouldn't be a reason, and perhaps I should feel ashamed for admitting it, but come on, Dickens is intimidating as it is. So I started Great Expectations at the very beginning of the year, my first read of 2016.
To a certain extent, I regret reading this to set off my new year. I feel like a short but amazing read would have probably prevented the reading slump I was in for the month of January. For the past few years, there have been few months in which I only read one novel, but January 2016 was one of them. This was partly due to the fact that Great Expectations took me a long time to get through, just because I wasn't fully invested in the story, The beginning really did draw me in, and I loved it, but it gradually started to bore me. I didn't find the main character the most interesting one, and I was constantly longing to know more about side characters, while really only getting to know Pip. While Pip still is interesting, and a well-rounded character for sure, I wish more characters were described in great depth. For example, Miss Haversham, about whom, admittedly, we learn a lot, deserved a whole novel for her own story.
There's no doubt this novel is a classic. It's written beautifully and themes such as self-improvement and social class truly describe the troubles of nineteenth century England, But as a novel about ambition, about self-improvement, I was disappointed by how little the novel inspired me. It barred me as a reader, a writer and a critic. While reading it, I was constantly thinking about what to write in my review, and I just didn't know - what would I read afterwards, I didn't know - what did I think about this novel, I didn't know.
A couple of weeks after having finished the novel, letting it sink in, I know I enjoyed it. The story was good and solid, and I really enjoyed the reading. But I surely was disappointed by it. Nonetheless, I'm excited to read more Dickens, although I'm definitely going to wait a few months before I do.
As I said, I didn't read another novel after having read this. I started a few, but with each one, I was afraid it would disappoint me like Great Expectations did. After a while, I decided that perhaps, I just wasn't in the mood for reading, and I should let it go. So I did. I read a bit of nonfiction, a bit of philosophy, which did inspire me to write again, to follow my own ambitions. So I decided to start off February a little bit better: I read a few pages in a new book, I wrote this review, and I tidied the house. Sounds like the start of a good month. We'll see.