A book that laid all my thoughts bare and forced me to rethink everything in general.
I cannot EVER summarize it in a few words so just let me acquaint you with the feelings my heart caressed and the thoughts that my mind was possessed of as I read it.
With ‘Mister Pip’, I was constantly in a process of discovering my favorite bits. Reading it was like having a perfectly flawed friend right by your side whom you can’t help but fall hopelessly in love with. It reminded me of the simple pleasure of being read to – the magic that can happen when melodious, well-stringed words fall on our ears and transport us to a place never visited before. It spoke to me of longing. Matilda was a girl had known no other world other than her little island until Mr. Watts introduced her to ‘Great Expectations’ and the mischief was DONE! From that moment, she learned to appreciate the magic of books an everything in Pip’s world started to come alive in her imagination. She found a friend in him; she found a companion and never let him go.
Seemingly insignificant descriptions made very profound observations and I must say that these little snippets of sheer truth wrapped in innocent wisdom left this warm, excited feeling in my gut. Reading ‘Mister Pip’ was such a delightfully enlightening experience. A reminder of our uncertain future which followed with an advice to never hold on too tight to the present circumstances came to me as a surprise – mainly because this simple life-affirming observation was shrouded in ‘vines’ ! In between moments when Matilda was lost in the delightful world where Pip was struggling with his life, I was reminded, and so was Matilda, how very uncertain life can be.
‘The roosters only knew how to be roosters.’
Having read this, the only question that hovered in my mind like a ghost for the rest of the day was, ‘Do WE know how to be humans?’
Mister Pip made me think – with it’s clear language and enticing imagery, the book put up the most basic question the answer to which I am yet to find out.
‘What did I hope for? Just hope itself, really, but in a particular way. I knew things could change because they had for Pip.’
And it was here, in this moment, that I realized she and I are one. I have, as all of us do, sought solace, hope, and re-affirmation in fictional worlds. I have looked for confidence and trust in fictional characters. I have done this time and time again – trusting that life could be better. That it could, by the power of passing time and a willingness of heart – a stubbornness of mind, change. And so did Matilda, a girl who was just learning the healing and transformative powers of hope combined with just the right amounts of imagination.
As the story proceeded, I learnt to experience fear as I had never done before. There were moments that incited such horror in my heart. Look at this one:
‘And dog had its belly ripped open. we stared at that dog and thought about a story Gilbert’s father had brought from further up the coast where most of the fighting was going on. Now we knew what a human being split open would look like.’
The intensity and the details in just the right places left me astounded. To experience life from the perspective of a young child still learning just how much danger she actually is in, that was a completely transforming experience.
Somewhere along the way, I found myself wondering what a ‘home’ is. For Pip, it was the forge. For Matilda, it was the bush tracks. And I felt embarrassed to come to the conclusion that I did not know what a home means to me. I do not yet know a place where my heart sings with joy and everything else just fades away. And then Matilda’s mother’s thoughts about her past and her being completely consumed by it, I was forced to reflect on this inherent duality of human nature. We do not know which version of ourselves to hold on to – the one that is slowly diminishing with ticking of the clock or the one which we are forming through our contemplation about the future. And the solution to this dilemma usually decides which course our life will take.
Such thoughts and questions my mind entertained as I made my way through the book, page after page – never stopping, journeying with Matilda through her delightfully eventful life. And as the story continued, it blossomed into something VERY similar to Great Expectations – all to make Matilda understand why everything happened happened and why all those characters behaved the way they did.
Matilda was introduced to the staggering possibilities of an uncertain life and what seemed like just moments later, she was forced to thank the certainties of it! Amazing how mind loves to work in the extremes and this was very subtly portrayed in the novel, when one knows where to look for it.
Never have I read a book which combines unbearable charm, horror and a willingness to lead life bravely in the right amounts as did ‘Mister Pip’. And anyone who decides to read ‘Mister Pip’ is in for very pleasant surprises – moment after moment- if you would only let your mind sufficiently disrupted by it. It will make you want to explore ideas and thoughts you would never have otherwise.
My final advice – GO AHEAD AND READ IT!!!
SoOoOoOooOo…..what do you think? Are you going to read it? Or have you already read it? What are YOUR thoughts? I. WANT. TO. KNOW. 😉 Tell meeee….