Sunday, 6 January 2013

Bookworm: Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

Not long before Christmas I saw a film of Great Expectations advertised, with the ever eccentric Helena Bonham Carter playing Miss Havisham.

Oh Miss Havisham the odd lady who lives in the dark, I thought. It looked like the actress would play her well and I thought it'd be a good film to see in the run-up to Christmas.

As I made plans to go to the cinema with my Auntie I suddenly realised something - I'd never read the classic.

I felt shocked, surely I'd read it at school, arguably one of the most favourite of Dickens' books? Recalling some memories from childhood I think I'd seen some adaptations on television at some point, then only snippets.

Yet I was very much aware of the name and character of Miss Havisham.

A few days before going to see the film I decided I would read said book and downloaded it to my Kindle. One of the amazing things about this e-reader is just how many great pieces of literature are available to you and for free.

Now, after reading the book? Well I saw the film and thoroughly enjoyed it. On finishing the book? I'm not so sure of the film, it seemed to have changed the story somewhat, and why?

I admit it has taken me a long time to read this classic tale, something which concerns me - has my brain turned to mush from the many easy-read fictional items I've indulged in of late?

This morning I finally finished the book and I have mixed feelings. The ultimate feeling is I really enjoyed the story, a strong and now well-known theme of love and loss, the realities of wanting and having, and then losing.

What really struck me is how so very old this story is, yet you can still relate to it and at times on reading certain parts and particularly certain dialogues I almost forgot how old this book was.

Good points
Great storyline
Strong characters
Miss Havisham by far my favourite
Keeps you reading

Not so great
I felt saddened by the ending and felt I wanted to know more about Pip or perhaps to have a stronger, happier end for him

I'm so glad the film did come out and catch my eye though as it brought to attention the fact I'd not read this famous piece of writing. Now I have I'm so pleased I did and how telling that even without reading it I knew so well of one of its characters.

Typically I've read a book and then a film version is made. This time I took the opposite approach, something I am set to do again after seeing the magical, powerful and thought provoking Life of Pi in film format. I can't wait to see what the book itself has in store...

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