Monday, December 15, 2008

Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones

Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones
I was intrigued by this book because it featured Charles Dickens' Great Expectations as a huge part of the story.
I've read the abridged children's book when I was younger, and I watched the movie. I keep meaning to read the original unabridged book, but just haven't gotten around to it. I'm hoping to read it next year for the Casual Classics Challenge though.
Anyway, Mister Pip is set in an island in Papua New Guinea, torn by civil war. The inhabitants of the island are trapped and caught between the rebels and the soldiers, and it seemed like they were all just waiting to die.
Until Mr. Watts, the only white man on the island, starting reading Great Expectations to the children. Matilda, the narrator, is a 13-year-old girl for most of the story, and she tells about how Great Expectations affected how she thought and what she believed, and how it caused a conflict between her mother and Mr. Watts.
Ultimately, that conflict led to tragic consequences, and you can't help but feel that it was such a waste because it could have been avoided.
I don't want to give away too much, but it did make me think about myself and my own 'ethics', as in, 'what would I do if I was her?', and that's part of the beauty of this book.
Whenever a book features another book as a big part of its plot, it usually demonstrates the power a single book has to affect and sometimes change a person's thinking, ideas, attitude, and life. Mister Pip demonstrates how powerful Great Expectation was in affecting the lives of all who lived on that island, and at the same time, Mister Pip itself affected my own thinking while I was reading the book.
I like books that make you think, and even if you end up not agreeing with what a certain book says, the fact that it made you think at all is a good thing. I also like books that feature other books, and this one did both beautifully. I recommend it to anyone who ever had a book affect their life strongly.


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