Great Expectations.. We had to read this in year 10 for an English Literature assignment. I could never get into it, so ended up just reading summaries online. Technically cheating, but oh well.
English assignments used to spoil books for me, with the teachers always attempting to find some hidden meanings in the words that I’m sure even the authors themselves never thought about. Over analysing books tends to take away the magic for me.
Interesting. About two years ago I decided I wanted to read a classic, went to Barnes and Noble, and almost randomly picked Great Expectations. I don’t typically read literary fiction, and even less often than that will read a “classic.” Surprisingly enough, I really enjoyed Great Expectations. It did it for me on a completely different level than most of the stuff I read. For one thing I thought all of the characters were superbly done. Dickens made me care in a way not many authors can do.
Dickens’ greatest strength as an author was his ability to introduce a never-ending string of characters, make each one memorable, and keep each one in play–sort of like a juggler keeping many balls in the air at once. Very few authors have been able to match him in this. He is especially good at creating villains.
I have always loved Dickens and have read most of his novels. I do relate to the poster who said High School English assignments spoiled books for him, because the same thing happened to me. I read voluminously on my own, but I always hated those assignments where I had to think about theme and character and other stuff instead of just reading for enjoyment.
If you want to read a great, great novel, try Dickens’ “Bleak House.” It’s fantastic. Interesting alternation of third person and first person PoV, also.