I am very happy to report that I've made good progress on my Classics Club selection Great Expectations AND I've gotten past the dragging middle part that almost swamped the project. As with so many good books one simply gets to a point in the reading where it feels like the story is running down hill---one cannot read fast enough to catch a breath. I am at that point with this story. Everything is coming to a climax and I simply must find out how things work out.
Now here is to my point. How is it that I, a human being over the age of 50, can have no idea how a book ends which has been a classic for over 150 years? I simply and obviously have had my head in the sand for a very long time. Occasionally a student will tell me that he/she has no idea what Jane Eyre or Pride and Prejudice is about and I simply gap at them. How could anyone not have a general idea what those famous books are about? Well, now I know. We can't know everything and if we aren't paying attention to literary references made by people, comments may go right over our heads. I'm suspicious this will happen to me from this point forward: Suddenly I will notice all the references to G.E. that I simply missed before. So, I will honor you, my blog reader by not giving away the plot and let you discover it for yourself just as I am doing. I don't want to assume you know more about the book than you do and I don't want to spoil your surprise. I should warn you that I am just about the only site with a Great Expectations with no spoilers. Let me just reiterate, Dickens referred to his masterpiece as a great tragicomedy. There, now you know more than I did when I picked up the book.
David Nicholls, the fantastic author of One Day, adapted Great Expectations for the 2012 film version starring Jeremy Irvine. In an article about the writing of that screenplay Nicholls identified Great Expectations as the great literary love of his life, saying "if you read a book at the right time in your life, it will stay with you forever." Ah, isn't that music to a librarian's ears? If I can only talk my students into reading some of these old classics perhaps I will catch them at the right moment and they, too, will fall in love with Dickens (or Austen or Bronte) and the love affair will last a lifetime.
So I read on knowing two things: I now have the capacity and desire to read Dickens and can enjoy it AND Great Expectations truly is worth the effort.
My progress: 371 of 460 pages, 79%.
Update, the first.