Friday, December 30, 2011

David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

David Copperfield

by Charles Dickens
published 1850
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.


  1. I meant to read this with Adam as well, but I failed completely. It is on my list for 2012, so I'm glad to see you liked it!

  2. I have a few Dickens novels I want to get to first, but one day I'll get to this one. It definitely sounds worth the time investment.

  3. My relationship with Dickens has improved a little bit, but I am still so intimidated by him! I want to read this one, but I think I am going to read some smaller Dickens novels first.

  4. Allie--I tried with Adam too and failed, so don't feel badly. It's super long, but worth it, I think.

    Ana--I hope you enjoy it if you get to it. It's wonderful. I love Dicken's and I think this is one of his best.

    L.L.--David Copperfield is long, but once you get into it, it really isn't intimidating. I hope you enjoy some other Dickens. I really enjoyed Great Expectations as well.

  5. I'm glad you ended up liking this one too! I really didn't like Oliver Twist for the exact reason you said, he was too perfect! I think that's one of the reasons I loved David Copperfield. He is flawed, but he's a good man. How funny is his description of being drunk!

  6. Melissa--The drunk scene was hilarious! Poor Davy. He was so mortified afterward. Ha!

  7. This one is my favorite Dickens. The characters really make this one memorable. I also loved Betsey Trotwood. Mr. Dick, Dora, and Steerforth were great too! Uriah still gets my blood boiling!!

    I totally agree with you about the ending. Definatley in my top 10 - 15!

  8. Two Bibliomaniacs--There were so many great characters it's difficult to pick a favorite. Mr. Dick was really great, and so quirky.

  9. I actually haven't read much Dickens and have been thinking about rectifying that this year.

    Wishing you a wonderful 2012 filled with 5 star reads!

  10. I absolutely loved this one, too. Dickens is so wonderful!

  11. Jenners--I hope you have a great 2012 as well. I hope you enjoy the Dickens that you decide on. I would recommend David Copperfield or Great Expectations. I wasn't a huge fan of Oliver Twist, but others love it, so who knows.

    Peggy Tryton--I remember getting excited for this one reading your reviews. Dickens is pretty great. Even his books that I don't love, are still pretty amazing in their own way. He always creates memorable characters.