Mister Pip

by Lloyd Jones

Knopf Canada | February 24, 2009 | Kobo Edition (eBook)

Mister Pip is rated 4.0714 out of 5 by 14.
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.


From the Hardcover edition.

Format: Kobo Edition (eBook)

Published: February 24, 2009

Publisher: Knopf Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 030737131X

ISBN - 13: 9780307371317

Found in: Fiction and Literature

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Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Wonderful! On the island of Bougainville, a group of village children are taught by the only white man, using the only book left in the school -- Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. It really does help to have read Great Expectations to appreciate this story, but it isn't necessary. If you read it years ago, you'll keep up just fine. One of Lloyd's aims is to make the point that we all make each and every story our own. He does this by demonstrating how a group of black children from an isolated Australasian island caught in a civil war take Mister Pip and his story, and make it their own. I'm simplifying the plot of course, as there is family conflict and conflict born of war, and deep character introspection on many levels. When the story ended, I leaned back and sighed with satisfaction. I'm still pondering it's messages more than 2 days later. They will stay with me always. What more can one ask of a book?
Date published: 2011-02-22
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Innocent A pure story; almost a kids story but for a few gory details. A very simple story that uses Dickens’s Great Expectations as a blueprint. Good and evil, god and the devil – all questions a native girl might ask growing up when trying to understand the world. But most importantly it speaks to the power of the imagination and where it can take us; certainly beyond our minds and into a reality we never believed possible. To think it is to believe it. I enjoyed it but i can see that it wouldn't be to many people's taste.
Date published: 2010-01-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Reader's read! This is a unique story, set in a beautiful, tropical island in 1990's. Political strife has caused all the white people to leave, except one. The eccentric Mr Watts takes on the task of becoming the school teacher for the native children. He reads "Great Expectations" by Charles Dickens to the class. The story is heard, and told, through the ears and eyes of 14 year old Matilda. She is a character you will not soon forget. There are laugh-out-loud moments, and runny-nose-crying scenes in this novel. You don't have to have read "Great Expectations" to enjoy this novel, but it does enhance the story if you have. Truly a Reader's read!
Date published: 2009-09-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Reader's read! This is a unique story, set in a beautiful, tropical island in 1990's. Political strife has caused all the white people to leave, except one. The eccentric Mr Watts takes on the task of becoming the school teacher for the native children. He reads "Great Expectations" by Charles Dickens to the class. The story is heard, and told, through the ears and eyes of 14 year old Matilda. She is a character you will not soon forget. There are laugh-out-loud moments, and runny-nose-crying scenes in this novel. You don't have to have read "Great Expectations" to enjoy this novel, but it does enhance the story if you have. Truly a Reader's read!
Date published: 2009-09-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Deep and thought provoking This was a great book overall. Their is not a lot of action to it, but where it's lacking in action and excitement, it makes up for with depth and meaning. This book left me with a lot of questions, but I'm sure that was the effect. We could have a hundred discussions about completely different events in this book. If you're looking for a book to do a project/report/essay on, this is a perfect choice. it will provide you with ample material and topics.
Date published: 2009-09-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Simple and Powerful As others have mentioned, at first glance the story of Mister Pip is a simple tale about a little girl's life on a remote island and dealing with civil war. However, it is much more complex and meaningful than that. The writer, Lloyd Jones, does a fantastic job in hiding its complexity. Moreover, he does an equally fantastic job in not "over-writing" the dramatic aspects of the story, which adds more power and emotions to those aspects of the book. What is great about Mister Pip, is that each reader will take something different from it - the ballte betwen friends and family; loyalty; the need fo inner escape - the story deals with all of these themes. I found the book reminds the reader of the power of stories and literature in shaping our world and lives. A quick, easy and great story.
Date published: 2009-05-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The Life of Pip (and Matilda) "Mister Pip" tells of the story of Matilda, a young girl growing up on an island in the Pacific, whose life almost mirrors that of Pip, the lead character of Charles Dicken's "Great Expectations". The Dickensian story is narrated by quite the unexpected teacher figure to Matilda and her class, and provided her a form of escapist pleasure - from her life and the approaching storm. It has a very "Life of Pi"-esque style and story, but while it took me a while before I came to truly appreciate "Pi", I took an immediate liking to "Pip". It was relatable, and covered a wide range of themes from culture, race, upbringing, faith, and the internal battles survivors, or otherwise, face. The story never falls through, never lets up much, so when the writings are read, Jones leaves one smiling, quivering or gaping.
Date published: 2009-03-27
Rated 4 out of 5 by from CAPTIVATING + AMUSING A off-beat look at the quirks of a white teacher's destiny to educate a tiny island's black children. Amusing to read. The two main characters will capitvate you to read more.
Date published: 2009-03-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from highly recommended Lloyd Jones’ Mister Pip won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best Book in 2007. Books with pedigree always make me nervous. What if I don’t like it? What does that say about me as a reader? No chance of not liking Mister Pip, though. This is a terrific book. Thirteen-year-old Matilda lives on the tropical island of Bougainville in Papua New Guinea. Many of the island’s inhabitants have fled, including Matilda’s father, because of a brutal civil war. Redskins and rambos are fighting, and the island is all but cut off from civilization. The only white inhabitant left in the village is a man called Mr. Watts, also known as Pop Eye. It is decided that he will teach the children, as the school teachers have all fled. As they clean up the building they will use as a school room, Mr. Watts tells the children “I want this to be a place of light, no matter what happens.” Mr. Watts begins to read the children Great Expectations which he claims is “the greatest novel by the greatest English writer of the nineteenth century.” And as Pip’s story unfolds, so does Jones’ novel. Not everyone agrees with Mr. Watts’ estimation of Dickens’ worth. Matilda’s mother, Dolores, in particular thinks Mr. Watts should be teaching the children about God and the devil. She and Mr. Watts are adversaries, but there can be no mistaking the impact Watts is having on Matilda. Mister Pip is a fantastic book about the power of reading and imagination. It is also a powerful and startling novel about bravery and sacrifice, love and forgiveness. I can not recommend it highly enough.
Date published: 2009-03-04
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Mister Pip I read "Great Expectations" by Charles Dickens during my first year of University and I did not like it at all, but I must say I always remembered Miss Havisham and the creepy scene of her in her wedding gown and the cob webs have stuck in my mind for many years. Obviously the book did have some effect on me and whenever I find someone reading "Great Expectations", which is not very often, I inquire how Pip is doing. "Mister Pip" by Lloyd Jones is patterned after the plot of "Great Expectations" and obviously the title is from the main character Pip in "Great Expectations". Matilda lives on the copper rich Bougainville Island and the civil war of the 1990's is the backdrop of this novel. Matilda is thirteen years old and lives with her mother, her father is living is Australia like a "white man" and Matilda and her mother are waiting endlessly to join him. Matilda's village is deserted by the all the white people including all the teachers, only one white man remains, the eccentric Mr Watts. Mr Watts takes up the task of educating the village children and he accomplishes this in two ways, one by getting parents to come and teach the children anything they think is important and the other by reading to the children "Great Expectations". The children are enraptured by the story of Pip and it changes who they are. Matilda's mother does not like this fictional character Pip and her hatred of the novel leads to severe consequences for her whole village and for herself and her daughter. The Redskins come to the village and destroy all of the material items the people possess and they demand to see Mr Pip, his name was written in the sand. Mr Watts tells them Pip is a fictional character from a book, but when he is unable to produce the book, the Redskins destroy the village. I found the ending of the book to be spell bounding, the return of the Redskins to find Mr Pip and the consequences of them feeling mislead are devastating. Matilda faces horrifying life changing events which lead to her finding a new life, very much like Pip from "Great Expectations".
Date published: 2008-12-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Breathtaking This is a breathtaking book - breathtakingly candid and sincere. On an isolated tropical island, through the eyes of a thirteen year-old girl Matilda, we witnessed the surprising attempts of an unexpected teacher, Mr. Watts, in rescuing trapped and terrified islanders with his reading and re-imagination of Charles Dickens' "Great Expectation". through it, we would have no choice but the rethink the meaning of right or wrong, and what it means to be human, and more so, a moral person. I was enchanted by this beautiful story; its writing is so humble and smooth that you would want to read it over and over again. Love this book - a must read.
Date published: 2008-10-19
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Not a Pip, in my book Okay, I decided to spend the summer reading more contemporary books as I had been reading nothing but literature from school and while I loved it, I felt I was missing out on new writers who may bring some unique perspective to the art of fiction. I'm sorry to say I haven't found any great novels, yet. That's not to say, there isn’t any good reading out there; some of it is absorbing, engaging and even uplifting. I happen to like good stories; I just happen to prefer more traditional lit, better. I know not everybody likes to work at reading, but for some reason I do; don't ask me why. I am not that way with movies; while I like British, foreign and documentary films, I also like fantasy, comedy and kid's movies; "Groundhog Day" is one of my favourite films. I like being entertained just like anyone else, but it's different when it comes to books; I don't know why. Anyway, after all this defensive explanation, I'll now clarify why I found the book somewhat disappointing. The plot centres on a very interesting concept: an island in the South Pacific is cut off from the outside world and all its material goods and services when they are invaded by a militaristic government from another country. Most everybody flees, except for a few inhabitants who didn't get out in time and now are reduced to basic survival when the only 'white' man on the island attempts to teach the children by reading to them from his beloved copy of "Great Expectations." The fact that the teacher is white plays a rather small part in the story; it crops up only a few times. It didn't even seem to matter if he was the only white man on the island, so I don't know why the reviews felt it necessary to emphasize it. The narrator, a 12 year old girl named Matilda makes note that she feels very connected to Pip in the novel, despite their differences in race, gender, time and place but I don't feel that aspect is delved into enough; only at the end. The story is told from Matilda's perspective, left on the island with her mother. I got pulled in and out of the story; sometimes it was very intriguing, other times the author didn't always pull off the 12 year old girl narrator; it was a little self-conscious and it didn't entirely ring true for me in some places. It dragged in some places and I couldn't always link the plot of the book to the reason why the author chose to use Dickens' "Great Expectations" until the end, when things are clarified. Everything gets tied up and illuminated at the end of the book and the last few pages are powerful and intense, but I wish that intensity had been more apparent in the first half and had grown with the story. I love "Great Expectations" and I kept hoping it would enter the story more in terms of theme, rather than just mere physical presence throughout the book. For me, the themes in Dickens’ novel are about the appearances we accept and the façades we adopt rather than having to face painful realities in life, in addition to being about the journey to self-awareness. There is also a strong thread of morality and injustice throughout the novel; one of Dickens' hallmarks. In "Mister Pip," Matilda, like Pip in "Great Expectations", does start off with some pretty unpleasant realities in her life , but unlike Pip, whose journey to understanding takes up the bulk of the novel, she was already a fairly self-aware individual, so I didn't feel the author clarified well enough for me, why Matilda would feel so connected to Pip . In "Mister Pip," there is no justice or fairness, so in that respect, maybe "Great Expectations" would appeal to Matilda because it had such a strong moral centre, but again, the author never makes that connection strong enough for me. My main concern, however, is that much of the rationale gets cleared up toward the end of the story- it seems that the author wanted to surprise readers with a revealing ending- and that leaves the first part of the book merely exposition. I think this book had the potential to have had many more layers throughout the book, than it did. Although, I've heard it personally reviewed by someone as "profoundly moving," so I have a feeling I may be in the minority. I do wish the book had delved more deeply into the connection between the young girl's story and her connection to "Great Expectations" and done a little better at representing the young narrator more fully. The story is very strong and often touching, especially toward the end, which is explosive, but I wish it could have been just as moving throughout. The end is a big payoff, though and so I don't want to criticize the book too much because I do think it is worth reading, but as much for the style and structure of the novel rather than for the actual story; it's good enough to warrant lots of discussion, both about the story and the writing style.
Date published: 2008-09-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great read I just finished this book and I know I will read it again! Short read, but it encompasses many different feeings and thoughts.
Date published: 2008-02-04
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Booker Favorite? I honestly thought this book was going to win the Booker. That doesn't mean i would have chosen it as the winner, only that i thought i t would be a popular favorite. Set on an island in the South Pacific, Mister Pip is the persona the teacher and only white man on the island assumes. Pip is, of course, a reference to the character from Great Expectations, which Mister Pip reads aloud to his pupils. I, unfortunately, have not read Great Expectations for a good number of years, so i fear that some of the parallelisms may have been lost on me. But it was still an enjoyable read and a knowledge of mr. Dickens is by no means necessary to enjoy the book.
Date published: 2007-10-22

– More About This Product –

Mister Pip

by Lloyd Jones

Format: Kobo Edition (eBook)

Published: February 24, 2009

Publisher: Knopf Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 030737131X

ISBN - 13: 9780307371317

From the Publisher

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.


From the Hardcover edition.