Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Classic Book Thoughts: Three Reasons to Read Great Expectations

Conference time is almost upon us. Every year, agents and editors caution writers against focusing too much on the classics because "everyone" has read those and they're not current. While it's true that classics have nothing to do with the current market, I don't think it's true that "everyone" has read them. Dickens has a way of scaring people off because his books are so long. In the case of Great Expectations, it's also hard to tell, um, what to expect based on the title. (Sorry, I know. I couldn't resist.)

Great Expectations is a long book and I think it's worth the time to read. That's why I'm going to keep this post as short as possible and provide the three reasons why I think everyone should read this book.

Reason #1: Fabulous Halloween costume inspiration in a story that begins at Christmas

Miss Havisham's moldy tattered wedding gown has to be one of the creepiest outfits in a book outside of the horror genre. She also has the whole rotting wedding feast on her dining room table. Bonus! Creepy house plus inspiration for a Victorian style Halloween costume.

Reason #2: Pip's tale of unrequited love will always be more pathetic than yours

Seriously, the main character, Pip, is in love with Estella (Miss Havisham's adopted daughter) from the time he's a small child through most of his adulthood and she treats him horribly. Would you put up with that from someone who has grown up in a creepy house with a mom who walks around in a wedding dress that's falling apart? Standards!

Reason #3: Mystery, drama and juicy details

Seriously, the book has to be long because so many questions are set-up early on that just must be answered. Will Pip and Estella ever get together? Who is Pip's mysterious benefactor? Who is Estella's father? That last question leads us to the key question in a Dickens novel: how is everyone related? Don't worry. It's a Dickens novel. It won't be too gross.