Title: David Copperfield

Author: Charles Dickens

Date Finished: 09/03/12

Re-read? : Fist time read

Challenges? Yes – Victorian Challenge 2012 & The Classics Club

Overall: 5/5 – absolutely fantastic

Wow!  It is Charles Dickens’ bicentenary this year and there has been a lot of hype due to modern BBC adaptations of Great Expectations and The Mystery of Edwin Drood, along with various programmes about all aspects of Dickens’ life.  Although Great Expectations was great when I read it a few years ago (and I plan to re-read it very soon), it has nothing on David Copperfield.  The depth of detail in the plot and the characters is exquisite!

The aspect of the plot I loved the most was the way there were so many different stories going on.  Instead of just one main storyline, Dickens creates several key plots all interweaving with each other and the characters.  Also, the way the book traverses David’s life from pretty much beginning to end was enjoyable for me – it felt as though you went through many different volumes as David grew older and older.  I guess this isn’t a far cry from how it was originally published – in groups of a few chapters at a time.

One of the best things about this novel, in my opinion, was that David was certainly not perfect.  He was treated so cruelly by the Murdstones that I immediately sympathised with him, and throughout the story he seems to be trying his best to do the right thing.  This is an echo of Oliver in Oliver Twist, but David is much more ‘real’ than Oliver, I feel.  Where Oliver is almost saintly, David still makes mistakes, especially the way he holds Steerforth in firm reverence despite Agnes’ warnings and how he marries silly little Dora when Agnes is obviously (to us) his perfect match.
The characters of David Copperfield include some of my all-time favourites: Betsey Trotwood with her idiosyncrasies and strong opinions made me laugh out loud at some points.  Also, Mr Dick brought some light relief and I don’t know who couldn’t admire faithful old Peggotty for her steadfast loyalty and compassion.
Some characters did annoy me, such as Dora who was so irritating and silly and Emily who seemed quite unrealistic to me.

Of course, the prose Dickens uses is flawless; I felt as though every word and every sentence from Chapter 1 to Chapter 64 was chosen with precision and care.  It is not often that you read a book as flawlessly written as this.

To wrap-up, I am extremely proud of myself – I have never read anything this long or challenging before, at what’s more I absolutely loved it.  I can tell it will be one of those books that I will continue to read and re-read throughout my life without ever growing tired of.

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