Monday, September 01, 2008

"Great Expectations" Charles Dickens

Why I read it: A year ago, maybe two, I was documenting a product that had PIPs in it (or Pips, or PiPs, depending on who's writing). PIP stands for picture-in-picture, like when a news reader has a graphic over their shoulder on TV. So I was in a teleconference, and a senior manager said "Let's count how many times she says PIP." So we did. And every time I heard the word PIP, I thought of this book, so I started to read it.

Last year, when I was going through my phase of losing library books (It only happened twice, and I've done my penance) I wanted to have a "carry around" book. This would be something I could always find my place in, and if I lost it (because I owned it) I could always get a replacement, and not owe the library money. So I've been reading this book for quite a while. I read 100 pages on a business trip to Ottawa in May. I finished it on vacation.

What I liked: The easiest thing was that this book is so archetypal, even though I hadn't read it before, huge parts were familiar. (Most people read GE in grade 11 English, but I took that in summer school and wound up with "elective children's literature" which ironically I did very poorly in. Like I got about a 57. I failed every essay. The teacher and I were not on the same page.)

But I remember doing portions of this book in Linguistics and Literature in university, and people refer to it other places -- Jasper Fforde comes to mind. So I knew all about Magwitch and Biddy and the general outline of the plot.

I bet people have written theses on subjects like "Marriage in Dickens". I loved best the wedding scene, where Wemmick pretends he's going fishing, and says at the end "let me ask you whether anyone would suppose this to be a wedding party!" Loved it.

What I hated: End notes. Footnotes are better.

What I can steal: Well, the idea that according to the footnotes "walking 26 miles will strain the readers' credulity, but..."

Tastes like chicken: Strange and Norrell come to mind...

Bookmark: Library receipt for "Sarah" !?!

1 comment:

Your EG Tour Guide said...

I read Great Expectations in high school and remember I liked it. But that fact plus the name Pip is all I remember. Well, it WAS a long time ago!