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Great Expectations

3.73  ·  Rating Details  ·  445,640 Ratings  ·  10,787 Reviews
"Psychologically the latter part of Great Expectations is about the best thing Dickens ever did." --George Orwell Philip Pirrip--known more commonly as Pip--is an orphan. His visits to the mysterious Miss Havisham are his only escape from his childhood of poverty. But then an anonymous bequest changes his life for ever--until secrets from Pip's past emerge, threatening to ...more
Paperback, 576 pages
Published January 1st 2012 by Atlantic Publishing, Croxley Green (first published January 8th 1861)
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Popular Answered Questions

Jennifer Cipri Good question! I think what made it wrong was how he came to have those expectations: He felt worthless being poor and many of the adults in his life…moreGood question! I think what made it wrong was how he came to have those expectations: He felt worthless being poor and many of the adults in his life treated him as if he were subhuman. They ingrained a sense of self-loathing in him.

I almost cried when he tried to rip his own hair out after Estella made him cry. It's one of the saddest scenes I've ever read in my life! :(

Dickens was really genius in showing how suppression and poverty have such a crushing effect on the spirit and how the true reality of happiness lies nowhere near material gains but in goodness, forgiveness and love. (less)
Nichelle Rohrbach I haven't read the abridged version so I can't say what all you're missing out on by just reading that but, I assume you're probably missing out on a…moreI haven't read the abridged version so I can't say what all you're missing out on by just reading that but, I assume you're probably missing out on a lot. The original is very long but, to me, it's completely worth it. Much of the really awesomeness of Dickens' (and any good classic/gothic writer) comes in the 700th page or so. That's just my opinion. But it's hard for me to imagine that anyone could successfully summarize the 500 pages of brilliance into a quarter the length.

The overall plot is very complex and drawn out over a long period of time. It took me a couple of months to read the book but that helped me understand how much time was passing in the book. The length of the book adds to the development of the characters. I read this book when I was about 15 and even though I live in a completely different world from Pip's character, it was one of the first times that I really related to a character and felt as though I knew him or as though I could have been him. That might sound weird but what I really mean is that there is a lot of worth in this book and I would definitely recommend reading the original. (less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Michael Kneeland
My students (and some of my friends) can't ever figure out why I love this novel so much. I explain how the characters are thoroughly original and yet timeless, how the symbolism is rich and tasty, and how the narrative itself is juicy and chock-full of complexity, but they just shake their heads at me in utter amazement and say, "What's wrong with you, dude?"

What's wrong, indeed.

I give them ten or fifteen years. Perhaps they'll have to read it again in college, or maybe they'll just try reading
...more
Stephen
Great Expectations…were formed...were met…and were thoroughly exceeded! Over-London-by-Rail-1 v2

The votes have been tallied, all doubts have been answered and it is official and in the books ...I am a full-fledged, foaming fanboy of Sir Dickens and sporting a massive man-crush for literature’s master story-teller*.

*Quick Aside: My good friend Richard who despises “Chuckles the Dick” is no doubt having a conniption as he reads this…deep breaths, Richard, deep breaths.

After love, love, loving A Tale of Two Cities, I wen
...more
Emily May
May 17, 2015 Emily May rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, favourites
“There was a long hard time when I kept far from me the remembrance of what I had thrown away when I was quite ignorant of its worth.”

I first read Great Expectations when I was thirteen years old. It was the first of Dickens' works that I'd read on my own volition, the only other being Oliver Twist, which we'd studied parts of in school. You know, I missed out on a lot when I was thirteen; by this, I mean that I didn't always understand the deeper meaning lying beneath the surface of my favo
...more
Bookworm Sean
"Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation of the first link on one memorable day."

That is such a quote. If there was ever a novel that shows us the dangers of false perceptions then it’s Great Expectations . Pip is such a fool; he constantly misjudges those around him, and he constantly misjudges his own worth. This has lead him down a road of misery because the person who he
...more
Chicklet
Aug 20, 2007 Chicklet rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
Shelves: classics
Boring, dull, lifeless, and flat. This is so drawn out and boring I kept having to remind myself what the plot was.
Best to get someone else to sum up the story rather than undergo the torture of reading it.
Matt
Apr 26, 2016 Matt rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic-novels
Admittedly, I can be a bit dismissive of the classics. By which I mean that many of my reviews resemble a drive-by shooting. This annoys some people, if measured by the responses I’m still getting to my torching of Moby Dick.

Even though I should expect some blowback, I still get a little defensive. I mean, no one wants to be called a “horrendous” person just because he or she didn’t like an overlong, self-indulgent, self-important “epic” about a douche-y peg leg and a stupid whale.

I’m no phili
...more
Kalliope


LITERARY EXPECTATIONS


It is said that Satisfaction is equal to Reality minus Expectations.

I reckon then that my rating should be around Eight Stars since Reality would be Five Stars and as my Expectations were on the negative axis—with an absolute value of about three--, it has resulted in a positive eight. The Great Eight, I should anoint this book, then.

How and when were my expectations formed? If I depart on search of my forgotten memories, I think it all started with those black & white
...more
Samadrita
A Tale of Two Cities will forever occupy a special place in my heart because even though adulthood sensibilities often cause childhood adoration to vanish in entirety, no one forgets a precocious reading of that first classic which reduces one to a sobbing, sniffling mess. But my memories of a first reading of this are hazy at best - the absence of guillotines lopping off heads and swoon-worthy heroes who make larger than life sacrifices could explain my much younger self's lack of appreciation. ...more
Renato Magalhães Rocha
Excuse me for this infamous pun - which I'm sure has been wearily used since the book was first published -, but I had great expectations about it. Not only had I never read anything by Charles Dickens - who seems to be one of those polarizing authors that continues to inspire, decade after decade, a love/hate relationship with his readers -, but also because Great Expectations is regarded as one of his most important works. For someone as anxious as myself - I should really look into that - it ...more
Jeffrey Keeten
May 04, 2016 Jeffrey Keeten rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: victorian
”I saw that the bride within the bridal dress had withered like the dress, and like the flowers, and had no brightness left but the brightness of her sunken eyes. I saw that the dress had been put upon the rounded figure of a young woman, and that the figure upon which it now hung loose had shrunk to skin and bone.”

 photo MissHavisham_zps3f113031.jpg
How do you do Miss Havisham? She makes many lists of the twenty greatest characters from Dicken’s novels.

I hadn’t ever met Miss Havisham officially, although I knew of her. I have he
...more
Laurel Hicks
I see more in this book each time I read it. Class distinctions, friendships, character development, sin, repentance, forgiveness, redemption--all are explored and charted in this thirteenth novel of Dickens.

My favorite characters are Joe Gargery, the gentle and loving blacksmith; the faithful Herbert Pocket; and the helpful Mr. Wemmick and his Aged P.

I've been seeing a recurring theme in several of Dickens' novels--a degrading reliance on hopes of the future to the detriment of the duties and
...more
Councillor
The success is not mine, the failure is not mine, but the two together make me.

Many people consider „Great Expectations“ to be Charles Dickens‘ masterpiece, his greatest work with the most impressive cast of characters. And while I cannot comment on its quality in comparison to other well-known Dickens novels like „A Tale of Two Cities“ or „David Copperfield“, it certainly managed to live up to my expectations and even more: to make me feel part of Pip Pirrip’s life, of his relations to Miss H
...more
Tiza
Apr 18, 2008 Tiza rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
Whew, it took me an incredibly long time to finish this book. Actually, this book kind of fell somewhere between 3 and 4 stars but I rounded it up because I liked it better than David Copperfield. While it's true that this book can be somewhat tiresome and contrived at parts, Dickens' dry humour, beautifully haunting descriptions and unforgettable characters made it a really fun read for me. One approach that best be adopted in reading Great Expectations (and Dickens' novels in general) is not t ...more
MJ Nicholls
It is frustrating being slapped around the head by classics that leave you trouserless in a lukewarm puddle. Because the failure, as Mr. Gass points out, is never with the book. You are to blame, always. I am to blame for not embracing Great Expectations with the same open-armed ever-lovingness with which I embraced Little Dorrit and David Copperfield and so on down the line. My reasons, thus: the second act loses the momentum and powerful perspective established in Part One, as Pip becomes a pr ...more
Debbie
Jan 21, 2008 Debbie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of wordy prose
It's the book that turned me off of Dickens. I still shudder when I think of being forced to read it in high school. The descriptions just go on forever...make it stop!

Pip, an orphan, meets an escaped convict and treats him kindly. This simple action will change Pip's life forever. Pip falls in love with Estella, a cold-hearted girl, who, thanks to bitter Miss Havisham, has been well-trained as a heartbreaker. She is wealthy and looks down on Pip, a poor boy with no expectations.

When a mysterio
...more
Joe Valdez
My first book of the new year and my first incursion deep into the Dickensverse is Charles Dickens' thirteenth novel Great Expectations. First serialized in the weekly publication All the Year Round in 1860-1861, the experience of reading this tale progressed a bit like Dickens' protagonist, beginning with wonder and anticipation, getting bogged down by the cruel mean world and finally just making me want to run home, to an author who wasn't paid per word.

Great Expectations begins big. On Christ
...more
Brendon Schrodinger
Sep 03, 2014 Brendon Schrodinger rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
To me Great Expectations was like an iceberg in that I knew, through some osmosis effect of years of cultural references, the plot of the first 20% of this book. It's been referenced and rehashed so many times that Miss Havisham can be visualised by most people and they all know her as a crazy old lady in a wedding dress who owns a big house. Everyone knows that Pip meets a convict out on the marshes also. But what of the latter part of the story? Is it just my exposure but the remaining 80% of ...more
C.
Jan 20, 2009 C. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone having trouble getting into Victorian literature
I have a confession to make. It's shameful and disgraceful and I barely want to own up to it. But I just can't hide it no more! *sob*

I thought Dickens was boring.

And worst of all, I based this assumption on... nothing. I'd read not a single word of his prose. I don't think I'd even watched a TV adaptation of one of his books. I have no idea where I got it from, but its pernicious influence prevented me from even trying a Dickens novel until now, and even now I thought I'd had to force my way thr
...more
K.D. Absolutely
Jul 21, 2014 K.D. Absolutely rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006-2012)
When I was a lot younger, I tried reading several works by Charles Dickens (1812-1870) but I was only able to finish one: David Copperfield (4 stars) and then during my first December as a Goodreads member, I read and finished the whole The Christmas Books (4 stars) that includes his, I think, most famous work, A Christmas Carol (4 stars).

With the many other books, especially those that are easier to read, competing for my attention, classics can always be put aside. However, the literary landsc
...more
Stacey (prettybooks)
This post is part of the 2015 Classics Challenge.

WHEN I Discovered This Classic
Great Expectations is another one of those classic novels that I feel I've always know about. But I didn't reallyfeel the needto read the book until I watched the 2011 BBC miniseries and really enjoyed it. I adored the story and vowed to pick up the novel soon(ish)!

WHY I Chose to Read It
I haven't read Dickens since I studied A Christmas Carol in school and Great Expectations had been on my list sincethe 2012 Classics
...more
Jason Pettus
Jul 09, 2007 Jason Pettus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Credited by many as the inventor of the modern novel, there are actually a number of books by Dickens I've read and enjoyed over the years; this one, however, is the latest I've re-read, which is why I'm doing a review of it and not the others. A master storyteller of the Victorian Age, someone imminently readable today as well (unlike so many of those 'olden' authors), Dickens had a magical ability to scoop up every detail of his time's zeitgeist, and spit it back out in a series of thrilling c ...more
Gr8grendel
Is there a way to give negative stars?

Let's see, hmmmm, boy is poor. Boy falls in love with well-to-do girl. Boy reforms well. Girl is manipulated to dump boy in a predictable fashion. Lot's of words in between. Boy is chopped up by a meat cleaver and his cadaver is launched into space by hot aire balloon. Space chimps reconstruct boy and send him back to Earth. He lands on miss Havisham. Her toes curl up like a wicked witch... admit it this review is already better than the book.

Why is Charles
...more
Aubrey
3.5/5

I doubt so many would have children, or adopt even, if they really looked at their motivations in the long run. This isn't about a lack of belief in human love, or decency, or ethical parenting. This is about what inevitably happens when socioeconomics controls all, the metaphors of criminality and debt getting tied up with child rearing in such a way that being blamed from one's own birth becomes a matter of course. What with people still being executed for being poor, children dying on th
...more
·Karen·
Feb 18, 2013 ·Karen· rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
+++SPOILERS! - but this is Great Expectations - surely you'll have seen at least one of the 17 film versions, even if you weren't forced to read it at school? ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


How do I love thee? Let me count the ways

When I was a child, and read as a child, I read thee as a fairy tale. The forlorn orphan boy who knows in his heart that wicked dark forces have deposited him in the wrong house and doomed him to drudgery that he does not deserve; a wicked stepmother beats
...more
Sara
It's hard to review a classic. People have been reviewing Great Expectations for 150 years. I found out not all the original reviews were positive but sometimes time is in your favor when it comes to reviews.

The only other Dickens novel I have read is A Christmas Carol. I have read that book a million times. I have started, but not finished, other books by Dickens. I was hesitant to start this and I wondered if I could finish it. For some reason, Dickens has always intimidated me and I'm not sur
...more
La Mala  ✌
Reseña pendiente.

No sé si es tanta la fascinación por la trama en sí (Pip es casi una Cenicienta a quien un hada anónima le promete un futuro de grandes esperanzas) como por cada personaje en particular. Desde el herrero Joe Gargery, pasando por el (view spoiler)
...more
Jason Koivu
Apr 23, 2016 Jason Koivu rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Boy, that's a tough title to live up to! One might have a fairly high assumption or at least hope that the likelihood, nay, the sure possibility of promising prospects of a good read with a title like Great Expectations.

It didn't reach those heights for me. Not the 8th or 9th grade version of me, who was forced to read this hefty tome by a teacher who didn't understand it much more than the students. I should give this one another go.

Vanessa
Dec 31, 2015 Vanessa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, 2015-tbr
Another year, another Dickens, and this time I FINALLY got to Great Expectations. This is undoubtedly one of Dickens most well-known and best-loved works, and I'm happy that I finally bit the bullet and picked it up again after years away from it. I have to say that it's not one of my personal favourites though.

For those who aren't familiar with the general plot, Great Expectations follows Pip throughout his life. As a young boy he lives with his overbearing sister and her kindly husband Joe, an
...more
Carol
I'm a somewhat green Dickens fan (having only read A Christmas Carol), but loved this 150th Anniversary Edition of Great Expectations! As in A Christmas Carol, this tale often portrays an eerie atmosphere with creepy characters.....like the mysterious escaped convict Abel Magwitch who threatens Pip's young life in the graveyard, the jealous and revengeful Old Orlick with his evil ways, and the embittered and decaying Mrs. Havisham who pines for lost love and leads Pip astray.

In this coming-of-ag

...more
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
Dec 10, 2008 Shannon (Giraffe Days) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, 2008
Even if you haven't read this or seen any of the many movie or tv adaptations, you would know something of the story. This is the one about Pip, an escaped convict, a beautiful but cruel girl called Estella, and the corpse-like Miss Havisham. It's about a little boy called Pip who was raised by his much older sister, Mrs Joe, and her husband, Joe, the village blacksmith. Joe is a role model and father figure as well as Pip's best friend, while Mrs Joe is sharp-tongued and aggressive - between he ...more
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Charles John Huffam Dickens (7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870) was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world's best-known fictional characters and is regarded as the greatest novelist of the Victorian era. His works enjoyed unprecedented popularity during his lifetime, and by the twentieth century critics and scholars had recognised him as a literary genius. His novels and sho ...more
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“I loved her against reason, against promise, against peace, against hope, against happiness, against all discouragement that could be.” 3238 likes
“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.” 2809 likes
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