Great Expectations

adapted by Crystal S. Chan. tr. from Japanese by Stacy King. illus. by Nokman Poon. 308p. (Manga Classics). Udon. 2015. Tr $24.99. ISBN 9781927925324; pap. $19.99. ISBN 9781927925317.
Gr 7 Up—The team responsible for Pride and Prejudice (2014) and The Scarlet Letter (2015, both Udon) present another classic tale in manga form. As in the original, orphaned Pip, raised by his harsh sister and her simple yet kind husband, Joe, encounters hints of the finer things when he is brought to visit with the bitter and twisted Miss Havisham and her ward, the beautiful but imperious Estella. The author and illustrators demonstrate an understanding of Dickens's tale, conveying how Pip's shame at his humble beginnings and his eagerness to make something of himself when a mysterious benefactor comes into his life gives way eventually to his realization of what is truly important in life. Many of the more well-known lines of dialogue are reproduced but made more accessible to a modern audience, such as Miss Havisham's diatribe against love. Readers who are put off by Dickens's dense prose may prefer Poon's beautiful, stylized art. The illustrator translates key scenes, using dynamic angles and dramatic blocking, giving the work an almost cinematic look. Tone, setting, and characters, too, are easily established through the visuals. However, attempting to condense a novel of this length presents a few problems. Some characters are thin and underdeveloped, and there are plot points that feel rushed. Still, on the whole, this offering will go over well with teens.
VERDICT An effective adaptation, though not without its flaws; students may wish to read the manga alongside the original.

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