Great Expectations

Great Expectations
by Charles Dickens
performed by Frank Muller
Published 1987 by Recorded Books
15 hours, and 45 minutes. Unabridged.
Rating: 5/5

The orphan Pip’s terrifying encounter with an escaped convict on the Kent marshes, and his mysterious summons to the house of Miss Havisham and her cold, beautiful ward Estella, form the prelude to his “great expectations.” How Pip comes into fortune, what he does with it, and what he discovers through his secret benefactor are the ingredients of his struggle for moral redemption.

I tried to read the print version of this book three times before I picked up an audiobook. It was the best decision I could have made. I was afraid I’d never be able to make it through this book. Though I could have done without some of the details Dickens included, that was never why couldn’t finish it. I had the worst time understanding the speech of the people in the book. Since Dickens wrote in dialect, I had a hard time decoding what they were saying, especially Magwitch. This audiobook fixed that problem. Frank Muller reads the story perfectly. I’m positive I would have missed some of the intended humor without his expression. I’m an immediate fan of him. He brought this intimidating book to life for me.

I find it amazing that classic books like this are full of characters with such tragic flaws. I love and hate the characters all at once. Miss Havisham is such a horrid woman, until she finally shows Pip her true affection for him. Estella is so cold until she has a hard life. Suddenly, she gains some semblance of a heart. Pip, who was a kind little boy, gains wealth and becomes a total snob. He atones for his sins, but it’s just amazing what money, love, and hate can do. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this story about his journey.

One thing I liked about this audiobook was it’s inclusion of the “other ending” Dickens wrote. I think I liked it a little better than the one he published. It just fit the story a little better to me. We all love happy endings. They’re appropriate for some books. But they’re not really necessary in all books. This book worked well either way, but I particularly liked the not-as-happy ending.

I was reading Shelf Awareness the other day, and there was a link that coupled books with the best directors to bring them to screen. They coupled this book with Tim Burton. I have to say, that’s the perfect decision. I would kill to see this done by him. He has such a good eye for period pieces and the gritty look of London. I can only imagine how perfect his Miss Havisham would look.

Source: Homewood Public Library. Homewood, AL.
Purchase this book: Recorded Books | Book Depository | Audible

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  1. I agree 100% with your assessment of Frank Muller’s performance. He was great! You can’t help but smile at his deep throaty laugh.

  2. I also listened to this earlier this year and loved it. I'm not sure if this was the same version, as I "checked" it out from my library onto my ipod, and the covers are sort of hard to decipher electronically. I have found that I really like listening to lengthy classics on my ipod; I've done several for which I probably never would have picked up the physical book.


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