"I will be honest with you. I have no wisdom, none at all. The truest thing I can tell you is that whatever we have between us is all we've got. Oh, and of course Mr. Dickens." -- Mr. Watts in Mister Pip, pg. 18.
A single, eccentric white man, Mr. Watts, chooses to stay behind on a war-torn island and teach the children. He begins by reading everyday from Charles Dickens' Great Expectations. Through opposition, fear and tragedy the lessons from Mr. Watts will persist, and the love of that story will help at least one child emerge scarred but victorious.
Rave reviews abound for Mister Pip, and there is a good reason for that. It is an amazing book! It put my emotions through the wringer, squeezing out any idea of remaining ambivalent about Mr. Watts, Matilda, her mum and the other villagers. With my current crush on Mr. Dickens, I thought this would be fun way to capitalize on that new-found fancy, but it turned out to be so much more than that.
The quote I included at the beginning of this post remained in my mind for the entire book. And in the end, to me, it meant this: Material goods and fluid circumstances have little meaning in the illumination or gloom of our relationships with those around us. Evil can abound in the most unlikely of places and good can flourish in its shadow. The choice is yours.