The Thirty Day Book Challenge: Day Eight

“Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation of the first link on one memorable day.”

Charles Dickens

Day Eight: Most Overrated Book

Er…

I would like to say Twilight, but I’ve already discussed Twilight for the Challenge, so I’m going to go with Great Expectations by Charles Dickens.

What? Shock! Horror! Blasphemy! I hear you cry. English Student does not like Dickens!

See, the thing is, Great Expectations is not, in my opinion, and contrary to popular opinion, Dickens’ greatest novel. Great Expectations is a good novel, with some nice characters (Herbert Pocket, I’m looking at you) and many interesting twists, but I would not call it a great novel. It cannot compare with the wonderful complexity of Our Mutual Friend, the simple sentimentality of The Pickwick Papers or the bustling London-ness of Dombey and Son. Great Expectations is simply too small, and too modest, to measure up to those wonderful, chaotic, sprawling stories of Victorian England. It’s not even a particularly inspiring tale, and I don’t think it’s representative of Dickens as a whole.

Of course, it is shorter, and therefore much more accessible. Shortness can be a virtue in our busy world. But the longer stories are often the more rewarding.

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