I have finally finished reading my first Charles Dickens novel! Of course it was the literary classic that has come to us through the centuries, Great Expectations. There have been many movie adaptations of this much-beloved story, but without a doubt, the book is better!
I started reading the story with a sketchy knowledge of what happens. Throughout the tale, Dicken’s goes to great pains to describe everything down to the most minute detail. At first I found this annoying and time wasting, not understanding how seemingly insignificant events come to play important roles later in the story, but if you stick it out, it is well worth it.
It is very like the Biblical tale of the prodigal son. It tells the story of orphaned Pip, living with his tempestous sister and her kind-hearted husband, until he is found to have “Great Expectations” (meaning, he comes into money). If you know anything about England, it is, even today, an incredibly classist society, and was even more so in Dicken’s day. Moving between classes was almost unheard of.
The story twists and turns, and the unexpected awaits the reader around every corner. It was a delicious read, both moving and insightful, though I must say, the protagonists long list of poor choices makes it hard to like him.
I paired this book with an equally surprising Springfield Chardonnay. I’m not a fan of Chardonnay in general, but this unwooded and buttery wine was a delightful complement to the bustling streets and exorbitant luxury of 19th century London.