Wednesday, October 17, 2007


I just finished reading Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones. As you might guess from the title of the book and the title of my post, the novel spends a lot of time with Great Expectations. The book is introduced to a group of school children on an island in the middle of a war by Mr. Watts, the only white man they know. The kids are taken with the book because it takes them to a place they've never known and some of them, especially Matilda, see something of themselves in Pip. Matilda is caught between her admiration for Mr. Watts and love for her mother; the two adults are at odds with each other.

It may sound like a book about how books can transport you to another world and teach you things about yourself. It is. But the story takes a dramatic and violent turn and after that the book tears away some assumptions the reader has during the first part. It's a story about stories, the stories we tell each other and the stories we tell ourselves. It's funny, depressing, uplifiting, and melancholy. I recommend it to all book lovers, especially those who didn't hate having to read Dickens in school (like me).

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