Great Expectations (Oxford World's Classics) - Kate Flint, Charles Dickens, Margaret Cardwell So it took me like a month to read this book and now it's taken me like a month to get around to reviewing it. Basically, it's a lot to digest ... and I'm trying to figure out a way to review this properly. But ... GAH IT'S SO MUCH.This was my first time reading Dickens. It took me 20 years of my life but I finally got around to it. It's not like I didn't ever want to read Dickens, but I just hadn't gotten around to it. Of course, now that I have a Kindle I've found it's a lot easier to get myself to read classic books. Maybe it's just me, but have you noticed that it's like impossible to find a readable hard copy of a classic book? It's like, either the print is so microscopic it gives me a headache just to look at it and/or half the page is taken up by footnotes from scholarly people which I find super distracting. But now I can get classic books for free and also adjust the size of the writing and everything, so that's awesome. Of course, this isn't an ad for Kindle so I'm going to shut up now.The point is, I'm glad I finally got around to experiencing Dickens because it was a great first experience. It did take me a while to get through the whole thing, but ultimately I loved it.I think what's most brilliant about this book is the characters. Yes, there are a ton of them and at times it's confusing to keep them all straight. But for the most part, they're all unique individuals with carefully thought-out backstories, and it's their interactions and relationships with each other that make the story truly memorable.There are just so many awesome characters in here. Ms. Havisham is so twisted and manipulative, and yet one can't help but feel bad for her after what she's been through. Joe and Herbert are both so sweet and such loyal friends. (Speaking of which, I kind of ship Pip with Herbert ... Is that weird?) Estella is so cold and messed-up and whatnot, and Pip's obsession with her is just agonizing and at the same time it's unfortunately quite realistic. (I mean, I've seen guys go through similar obsessions with girls who obviously were just going to trample on their hearts ... It's just sad. And it goes both ways; that is, I've seen girls go through similar obsessions as well.)And the plot is very good for the most part, too. There's a lot of little plotlines that all kind of merge together; a lot of details from earlier in the story become more important later in the story, etc. There are times when it was slow-going, but it always kept me interested.I think what interested me most was the relationship between Ms. Havisham and Estella. It's just so deliciously twisted, how Ms. Havisham raises Estella to have no feelings and everything. This little passage of dialogue between Ms. Havisham and Pip really spoke to me: "But as [Estella] grew, and promised to be very beautiful, I gradually did worse, and with my praises, and with my jewels, and with my teachings, and with this figure of myself always before her, a warning to back and point my lessons, I stole her heart away, and put ice in its place.""Better," I could not help saying, "to have left her a natural heart, even to be bruised or broken."AGGHH it's just so good. And I feel like that captures a lot of what the story is about ... That we all have to go through struggles, and pain, and things don't always turn out the way we want them to, but it's better to go through all that and become a better person from it than to just feel nothing at all. So, yes. Brilliant!I also loved the writing. The descriptions are very vivid and it was easy for me to picture everything and to imagine that I was there in the story. There was also a lot of fantastic humor in it. For example, I loved this part when Pip lied to his sister about what Ms. Havisham's house was like:"We played with flags," I said. (I beg to observe that I think of myself with amazement, when I recall the lies I told on this occasion.)"Flags!" echoed my sister."Yes," said I. "Estella waved a blue flag, and I waved a red one, and Miss Havisham waved one sprinkled all over with little gold stars, out at the coach-window. And then we all waved our swords and hurrahed."Ah haha. I love it.I think the only downfall to the writing was that, when the story was originally published, it was published in pieces in a newspaper or a literary journal or something of that sort. And Dickens got paid by the word, and it's fairly obvious at points that he's squeezing as many words as possible into the book as he can. For example:Don't go home. When at last I dozed, in sheer exhaustion of mind and body, it became a vast shadowy verb which I had to conjugate. Imperative mood, present tense: Do not thou go home, let him not go home, let us not go home, do not ye or you go home, let not them go home. Then potentially: I may not and I cannot go home; and I might not, could not, would not, and should not go home ...JESUS CHRIST, DICKENS. But at least he kind of pokes fun at himself for doing this, sometimes:This is written of, I am sensible, as if it had lasted a year. It lasted about five days.Haha.Well, I think you get the idea. I think this is a damn good story with awesome characters and excellent (although sometimes needlessly wordy) writing. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I look forward to reading more of Dickens's work.