Monday, 31 May 2010

Book #8: Great Expectations

Now, there's a book. It took a long, long, long time to read. But it was worth it. Everyone of the four hundred and sixty odd pages contained fantastic descriptions of its people and places. You believed in the homely forge, the misty marshes, the decrepit Satis House and the dismal London. Pip, the main character, was earnest but flawed; Miss Havisham was awful and pitiful, and the change in Wemmick from when at work to when at home was always convincing.

However, somewhat troubling was the treatment of women in the novel. There is an array of women that are ghastly, abusive or just annoying. You have the cruel Miss Havisham; the sociopath, Estella; the abusive Mrs Joe Gargery; the annoying Mrs Pocket; the murderous Molly; and the various cousins of Miss Havisham who are only after her wealth. The only positive female characters are Biddy and Clara. Biddy is perhaps a little too good, and Clara only appears a few times in the book. Even the convicts are treated with a bit more respect.

Despite this, it is still a fantastic read. It sweeps through lots of themes (identity, love, revenge,
crime, money, class, etc.), but does so in a way that is never trite or hackneyed.

Favourite character: Mmm, either Miss Havisham as an enduring literary construction or Joe.
Most memberable moment: Miss Havisham's end
Best line: 'My sister, Mrs Joe, with black hair and eyes, had such a prevailing redness of skin that I sometimes used to wonder whether it was possible she washed herself with a nutmeg-grater instead of soap.'

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