Great Expectations is usually considered to be one of Dickens', er, greatest achievements but when I tried to read it as a teenager I found it so boring that I couldn't finish it and it put me off Dickens for years. But after reading and enjoying David Copperfield, A Tale of Two Cities and A Christmas Carol I finally decided to give the book another chance. So do I like Great Expectations now? Erm... in a way. I definitely appreciated the book's dark humour and haunting imagery this time around and I did find some of its secondary characters interesting and memorable (Miss Havisham, Estella, Joe, Herbert Pocket, Mr Wemmick, etc). But to be honest I still wouldn't call myself a big fan of this book because I find its middle section extremely slow-moving and dull and Pip really annoys me. He degenerates from being a cute and sympathetic child into a cold, whiny, shallow and ungrateful young man. He's nowhere near as likeable a narrator as David Copperfield is.
Before I finish this review I thought I'd mention that this book has two different endings. When Dickens showed his original ending to some of his friends they told him that it was much too depressing and that he should leave the book on a more optimistic and open-ended note. Most editions of the book include both the original and the revised ending. I thought both of the book's endings were good actually but if I had to choose which one I liked better then I'd go with Dickens' original ending rather than his revised ending. The original ending seems a bit more relevant to the book's themes and its overall message. Even though the revised ending was intended to be more open-ended I get the impression that Pip really is going to end up with his beloved Estella after all.