It didn't. I did not particularly enjoy my first reading of Great Expectations. It's a long book, and not really a happy one. Creepy even, occasionally. Not a book I really wanted to revisit. But I still had to read it for my high school English class. So I did.
And then came college. I was an English minor, so I read a lot of works that I wouldn't have had much experience with otherwise. Every good English minor is required to read some Charles Dickens. What was the assigned book? That's right. Great Expectations.
I've read it three times. I don't ever want to read it again. And unfortunately, that feeling seeped over into every other book written by Charles Dickens. I have studiously avoided all of his other works (even the harmless little A Christmas Carol).
Why? Mostly for the writing. His writing is subtly satirical, something I absolutely love (might explain my obsession with Jane Austen). I didn't remember that from Great Expectations, but I certainly discovered that in Oliver Twist. Dickens is good at creating characters you love to love and characters you love to hate. (Fagin? Shudder.) And everything turns out so well. The bad guys are punished, the good guys live happily ever after, and a few even reform their ways just for good measure. Oliver Twist was a thoroughly satisfying story.
So am I a Dickens convert? I don't think I'll be adding him to my list of favorite authors anytime soon, but I am perfectly willing to give more of his books a chance. Any suggestions as to what I should pick up next?