by Charles Dickens
completed December 2011
This book took me forever to read. I had good intentions of reading it with Adam of Roof Beam Reader when he hosted a readalong in July. I really did try. I got about 100 pages in then decided to shelve it for later. I read bits of it here and there over the next few months then finally finished it only a couple of weeks ago.
My choice to read it at such a slow and stretched out pace, detracted from the book for me. I really loved the second half, but I think my experience with the first half was lessened by my haphazard approach. I am my own worst enemy sometimes.
David Copperfield is narrated by Mr. Copperfield himself, and the story begins just before his birth. There is an enormous cast of characters, sometimes difficult to keep straight, taking part in numerous side stories. At first, I had difficulty making much sense of where the story seemed to be going and why all of these characters were being introduced. By the end, it all made sense. The conclusion of the story was perfect.
One of the many themes of David Copperfield was marriage. There are so many different examples of marriages, some of which work, and others that have devastating affects. Mothers also play an important role throughout the story, and again, we see many different types of mothers and the resulting consequences. Love in general was discussed towards the end, and David Copperfield ruminates on how it changes as we age. So true. Our first young love, all giggles and blushing, is much different than a more mature love of two people who are ready to share a life together.
The writing was wonderful, such a great mix of humor, and touching moments, both sweet and sad. By the end, I was underlining so many passages. As is typical in a Dickens novel, there are numerous memorable characters. Mr. Micawber was a favorite, with his passion for writing letters providing much of the comic relief. I also loved the descriptions of Traddles' hair. I loved Betsey Trotwood and her transformation throughout. Watching David Copperfield grow up and mature, was delightful. Earlier in the year I read Oliver Twist, and I had difficulty relating to Oliver because he seemed too perfect. David Copperfield is not perfect. He makes mistakes, gets taken advantage of, but learns from his experiences and becomes an amazing man and husband.
I completely understand why Dickens would consider David Copperfield his best. It was difficult to see where it was going, but by the end, I was amazed at how well all of the pieces of this well-crafted story fit together. It's a long one that requires a bit of attention during slower times, but I really enjoyed the journey of reading this one. Highly recommended for lovers of classics.