Friday, February 14, 2014


It's a horrible, terrible thing to say--but it's still true.
I just got done watching the Masterpiece Theater beautiful, magical version of:

This is the 2011 version. It's fanTABulous.
I loved it, loved it, loved it.
But I have to confess that I didn't even want to watch it at first.

Why? Not because I don't like Dickens. I think he's a genius. He does an amazing job of introducing so many memorable characters in a book, then twisting their lives upside down until they all have connections with each other, and then still surprising you with a remarkable ending.

Not because I don't like Masterpiece Theater, because I really, really do.
I love Downton Abbey, Pride and Prejudice, Bleak House, Daniel Deronda, Emma, and so on.

Wait a minute... This doesn't look like the X-files.

So why should Great Expectations be any different?
Why was I so reluctant to watch it?
I'll tell you--because back in high school and college, when I read a freak ton of classic novels, I couldn't stand Great Expectations. I felt it was Dickens slowest book. I didn't like any of the characters. They were either mean to Pip or else they did stupid things.
And by "they" I mean just Pip.
I'm really sorry to all you Pip fans. I know he's the hero, but he lived in a fantasy world and didn't pay attention when he should have.

No, I don't sparkle--even though I look a lot like Edward Cullen.

But this miniseries was wonderful. Every single minute of it. This time around I rooted for Pip, despite his stupidity (it doesn't hurt that the actor did such a fine job and was adorable). I admired Joe. Hated Pip's sister (I wanted to smack her until somebody else actually did. Then I felt bad. Whoops. Semi-spoiler. I'll say no more.) Jaggers was cool. Even Magwitch was cool, in sort of warped way at first and then... once you got to really know him, he was even better. (And kudos to Dickens. Gotta love his choices for character names: Pip, Jaggers, Magwitch, Miss Havisham--how did he ever think of these great, classic names?)

Forget the file. Just get me some more of that cake.

But as both a writer and a voracious reader, it just seems wrong to say... uh, sorry...
I like the movie better.
To redeem myself, watching this miniseries makes me want to reread the original book.

So well done I want to watch it all over again tonight.

Maybe I missed something the first time around.
Hmmmm. Come to think of it, I sort of felt the same way about E.M. Forster's Howard's End. Again when reading every classic novel I could get my hands on, I first devoured Room With a View and then got stalled on this one. Felt like it took 3 days to read a page, when normally I'm a speedster.

But consider the movie. Of course, pretty much any movie with Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson is bound to be a winner, but...

Love, love, love you two together.

Maybe I should read both these books again.

Okay. This isn't true. I just wish I went to Hogwarts.


  1. I get it Ann, I love Dickens and I was one of those kids in class you probably hated. I gobbled this up and loved I enjoyed all of the assigned books. However the movie rocked, and if it exposing peeps to this author then it is wonderful.

    1. haha. I don't think I would've hated you. And I really should read it again, now that I have more sympathy for the characters.