Great Expectations by Charles Dickens was the first “classic literature” in my experience, thanks to 9th Grade English with Mrs. Shively. I approached it with trepidation, and found it to be fairly enjoyable, and far easier to decipher than the Shakespearean English of Romeo and Juliet. The movie wasn’t bad either, and even featured “a young Alec Guinness“. No, the real one! Despite all this, these Scathing Book Reviews of Great Expectations show that some reviewer expectations weren’t met:
A guy I work with read this book and it seemed like he was reading it for three years! Every day he sat there with his legs crossed sipping his tea and reading Great Expectations, spending about an hour on every page! What an aristocrat. It was brutal!
…and this reviewer, who faults Dickens for his Highfalutin’ vocabulary:
The writing is far too colloquial and Dickens employs highly uncommon words gratuitously, if not pompously. I found the story’s events frustratingly improbable, the coincidences felt contrived, and the writing in general is consistently agonizing to read