I had heard the general plot outline of Great Expectations prior to reading the book, but was really surprised with how inter connected all the characters were. I really enjoyed learning the backstories to all the characters and making discoveries every now and then that were really unexpected.
There were characters who I feel in love with. I think my favorite character is Aged P.! He doesn't appear much in the story, and his lines are more or less, "all right John, all right," but he sounds like the cutest man who has an infectious amount of happiness to share. And Joe and Biddy! How I love them. They are true north characters—individuals who never lost their way, but were so loving and forgiving to Pip after his great expectations journey.
Both Estella and Pip were raised up my adoptive benefactors, one to wreck revenge on the male sex, the other to help a convict realize his personal dreams. I'm glad that this didn't have your typical happy ending, it seemed very real. I watched the 2012 version of the movie which I really enjoyed. My one complaint with the film is that we didn't see the late Mrs. Gargery's transformation into a more docile and repentant creature. I also wasn't a huge fan of how they made Estella seem slightly softer than she really was, but I know it could have been so much worse.
I think Pip was much too hard on himself, when really there was so much goodness in him. One of my favorite passages of the book is when he reflects on his secret dealings of helping Herbert.
"Day by day as his hopes grew stronger and his face brighter, he must have thought me a more and more affectionate friend, for I had the greatest difficulty in restraining my tears of triumph when I saw him so happy.
At length, the thing being done, and he having that day entered Clarriker's House, and he having talked to me for a whole evening in a flush of pleasure and success, I did really cry in good earnest when I went to bed, to think that my expectations had done some good to somebody."