Monday, October 31

Book Review: Mister Pip

Title: Mister Pip

Author: Lloyd Jones

Pages: 256

Summary: After the trouble starts and the soldiers arrive on Matilda’s island, only one white person stays behind. Mr. Watts, whom the kids call Pop Eye, wears a red nose and pulls his wife around on a trolley, and he steps in to teach the children when there is no one else. His only lessons consist of reading from his battered copy of Great Expectations, a book by his friend Mr. Dickens. For Matilda, Dickens’s hero Pip becomes as real to her as her own mother, and the greatest friendship of her life has begun. Soon Mr. Watts’s book begins to inflame the children’s imaginations with dreams about Dickens’s London and the larger world. But how will they answer when the soldiers demand to know: where is this man named Pip? Set against the stunning beauty of Bougainville in the South Pacific during the civil war in the early 1990s, Lloyd Jones’s breathtaking novel shows what magic a child’s imagination makes possible even in the face of terrible violence and what power stories have to fuel the imagination.

My Rating: 7/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: Overall the book wasn't entirely what I expected, but I did enjoy the novel.

The story itself was slow moving, but the author did do a good job at showing how a war stricken community attempts to survive. Issues of moral responsibility, sacrifice, and heroism are all a factors in the book. I also enjoyed how the author tied the novel, Great Expectations, and how it became a symbol of hope and comfort to the characters in the book. But also found that some of the characterization needed work, it was hard to connect, especially on an emotional level with most of the characters. There were times were their actions really surprised me and where the author began to examine them further but the story quickly veered away from that and for the most part, characters weren't very memorable.

The author did do a fantastic job at bring the everyday life and survival of the islander's lives home. I enjoyed the close look, but the there was a bit of graphic violence, that threw me. This was a little beyond my comfort zone, it made the story realistic, but it was something I wasn't thrilled about reading. I also thought the ending fell a little flat, there was a big reveal and I was expecting something a lot different than what was given.

Although it may not have been entirely what I was expecting, it was a good book, with some interesting observations on a person's actions during times of war.

Would I recommend it to read: Yes, I did have my issues with the book, but I know a lot of readers out there will really enjoy the book.

 What to read next: Great Expectations (since it was such symbolic aspect to the book)

Challenges: 11 in 11, 100+ Challenge, 2011 Countdown Challenge, Fall into Reading Challenge, Global Reading Challenge


  1. I was surprised when I read this that I actually enjoyed it...

  2. Kailan - It wasn't a bad book, just nothing what I was expecting. But great portrayal to life on the island.

  3. I think that Great Expectations has to be one of my favorite books ever, so naturally, I am also curious about this one. I liked what you had to say about it too, and think that it sounds like it would be a complex and surprising read. Thanks, Jules!

  4. Zibilee - After reading this, I am moving up Great Expectations on mount TBR, it's good to hear you enjoyed it so much.