I started my reading journey by reading children’s illustrated versions of the popular classics. Why? Because, the language was easy and understandable, the book wasn’t too lengthy which gave me a feeling that I can finish it and the illustrations added a dash of entertainment to keep me hooked. Now, that I am an avid bibliophile, I am trying to read all the unabridged versions of the classics available, including the ones I read as children’s version and the ones I never did. One of such classic I recently read was Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. This book holds a special place in my collection as I purchased it from Gulshan Books Kashmir, while I was on a solo trip there.
You must be thinking why am I even reviewing this classic? Now, in 2022? It’s already a great novel, does it even need a modern age review? Well, I think it does. It certainly qualifies for a view from a reader after 160 odd years of it been written. How I or anyone, in these technological advanced times with fast paced lives, take this story which is from an era that we get to know only through classics like such or sometimes movies.
This story is of a boy ‘Pip’ who lives with his ill-tempered loud sister and her husband, in extreme poverty, encounters a dangerous criminal whom he helps, though out of fear but later out of nowhere, he gets a strange opportunity to visit a rich lady, ‘Miss Havisham’, as a job and there he falls in love with the adopted daughter of that lady. The girl, Estella, however, was always cold towards him. Curiously enough a secret and mysterious benefactor comes forward who funds Pip’s studies, helps him get a job, provides allowance, etc. Pip always wanted to find out who it as. He had his own suspicions.
With his position improving, Pip hoped to marry Estella, assuming the benefactor would be perhaps Miss Havisham. Not in his wildest dreams did he imagine who it really was! As life unfolds all the mysteries and events, his path sways away from that girl and turns towards something drastically opposite but meaningful. For perhaps the first time in his life, he was thinking about someone else. He found this sense of duty and purpose towards matters bigger than himself or his personal desires.
The story has one of the most strange endings I have come across. Neither did it make me happy nor it made me sad. It felt like ‘life’. Just because it’s a fiction, it won’t necessarily have a good or a bad ending all the time. Just like in life, not everything is black or white. It was like gray, with endless possibilities and hopes. As if the end, was in fact a beginning. This book didn’t give me the closure I had hoped but it did ignite the curiosity in me about the story beyond its end and that, I was very novel for me! It’s a unique, one of a kind stories that makes you think, wonder, curious and that I believe is a good sign. It’s not a classic for no reason. 🙂