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Great Expectations: 150th Anniversary Edition

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3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  400,779 ratings  ·  9,947 reviews
Dickens’ epic literary Masterpiece

From the agony of Charles Dickens’ disenchantment with the Victorian middle class comes a novel of spellbinding mystery and a profound examination of moral values—this is the story of the orphan Pip’s trials and tribulations among London’s high society circles.
Paperback, 528 pages
Published February 3rd 2009 by Signet (first published 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)
Farseer That depends. If you are enjoying it it flows quite easily. It seemed well-paced to me. However, if you don't enjoy it it probably feels long.

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
“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
Chicklet
Aug 20, 2007 Chicklet rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  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.
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
Matt
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
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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
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
”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
Bookworm Sean
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 held the highest expectations for Pip was Pip himself. But, in spite of this, Pip does learn the error of his ways and becomes a much better person, though not before hurting those that have the most loyalty to him.

The corrup
...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
Tiza
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
Brendon Schrodinger
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
K.D. Absolutely
Jul 21, 2014 K.D. Absolutely rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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
Debbie
Jan 21, 2008 Debbie rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  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
C.
Jan 20, 2009 C. rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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
Jason Pettus
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·
+++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
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
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
Sue
A revelation and a delight---those were my reactions on reading, then on finishing, Great Expectations, first read, and not enjoyed while in high school, only slightly remembered from that time(vague recall about who his actual patron might be).

This second experience, oh so many years later, has reawakened the joy of reading the Victorian serial novel. I looked forward to picking this book up each time I did so. I chuckled and laughed with some of Dickens words, names and descriptions, enjoyed
...more
Lyn
Great Expectations, Charles Dickens' 1860 first person narration centers on the formation and social development of the inimical English character Pip.

Set in and around London in the early 1800s, Dickens uses vivid imagery and his usual genius at characterization to build a story that has become one of English languages greatest and most recognized stories.

As always in a Dickens’ novel, his brilliant cast of intriguing characters takes center stage as the reader comes to know a parade of liter
...more
Mercedes
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lynne King
I was browsing through this book again last night as I read it years ago and rated it four stars. But obviously tastes do change with time, with different needs and wants, and I think that I failed to see what a masterpiece it is, thus the change in my rating.

I also have my Folio hardback which is exquisite in itself.

It's odd that one can read another book by a completely different author and be given the need to compare it with Dickens, our master story teller.
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
Noce
Recensione per i frivoli.

Orbene, chi pensate potrebbe essere Dickens, se vivesse ai nostri tempi?
Probabilmente un mix tra il regista di Beautiful, e il regista di una qualunque telenovela sudamericana.

I personaggi ci sono tutti. C’è quel paio di nuclei familiari attorno al quale la vicenda si muove, la contrapposizione tra il Bene e il Male, e l’effetto cliff-hanging, che ti tiene incollato alla vicenda grazie a rivelazioni spettacolari, (in cui si scopre che il figlio di Pilar, in realtà era
...more
Hannah Young
'Great Expectations' was a strange read, and I'm not sure if I enjoyed it or not. The writing I loved - the narrative is full of sinister comedy, witty dialogue and striking imagery and observations from the word go, and the majority of characters (from the ridiculous to terrifying) are hard not to adore and leave undoubtedly impressioned marks. The pacing, however was extremely unbalanced. Normally, the middle part of a novel would be expected to be the most exciting, yet in this case it was so ...more
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A prolific 19th Century author of short stories, plays, novellas, novels, fiction and non-fiction; during his lifetime Dickens became known the world over for his remarkable characters, his mastery of prose in the telling of their lives, and his depictions of the social classes, morals and values of his times. Some considered him the spokesman for the poor, for he definitely brought much awarenes ...more
More about Charles Dickens...
A Tale of Two Cities A Christmas Carol Oliver Twist David Copperfield Bleak House

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“I loved her against reason, against promise, against peace, against hope, against happiness, against all discouragement that could be.” 2899 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.” 2570 likes
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