Mister Pip probably deserves 4 stars rather than just 3 becuase the book had my complete attention for its 250 pages. That doesn't happen as often as I'd like. I also think the writing is well above average. Jones's writing has some great lines and overall it flows very well. I also really liked the play with Great Expectations.
The story itself is touching and sheds some light on Bougainville's atrocious early 1990s--an event I shamefully knew nothing about. The book offers a disturbing look at barbarism that feels like it belongs to the preindustrial era but that actually took place right under our noses.
However, though the book had my attention and my heart at times, I don't think it said as much as it seemed to say. To me, all the play with story telling and the power of the imagination and the talk about identity didn't really amount to much in the end, even though it was interesting to read. I think Jones overused his literary device. There were so many connections being drawn between characters' true histories, their stories, and Great Expectations that it began to feel contrived. In the end, my own conclusion was that it was.
Fortunately, that doesn't bring the book down too much. It's still a touching, well written, and even important story. But, as with the other shortlisted books I read for 2007, I didn't feel it met my expectations.
3 stars out of 5.