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Review: David Copperfield – Charles Dickens


David Copperfield

I was recently discussing my reading challenge with a colleague when he asked whether reading my way through the BBC Top 100 had changed my life in any way. And while I would hasten to say my reading challenge has changed my life per se, it has certainly impacted it a great deal.

First and foremost, the challenge has had a colossal effect on my free time – so much so that I am left quite at a loss for words when I read about judging panels of book prizes; many of whom read well over a hundred books in less than four months. Granted, they may not be thumbing through books in excess of a thousand pages, but the amount of time they must dedicate to reading is undoubtedly quite incredible. I’ve spoken before about my early mornings, extended commutes and absence from many a social pursuit in order to get my reading done, and despite the number of books I have left depleting, the time I have to set aside never seems to.

That said, nothing quite rivals the satisfaction of finishing a book’s final page, and crossing another of the nation’s best loved books from my list. Most recently: David Copperfield.

With no less than five novels on the BBC Big Read, David Copperfield is the fourth of Dickens’ that I’ve read, having begun with A Christmas Carol, before reading A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations. Dickens wrote of David Copperfield: ‘Of all my books I like this the best’ and by the end of the novel it is clear to see why. A simple, yet lengthy, story, David Copperfield is the tale of a young boy and the obstacles he faces as he navigates adulthood and the eventualities of love, loss and death that come with it. With a wonderful cast of characters typically Dickensian in nature – from mad aunt Betsy Trotwood to the foolish Wilkins Macawber – and a loveable protagonist, David Copperfield truly is one of Dickens’ finest works.

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About David Copperfield

Dickens wrote of David Copperfield: ‘Of all my books I like this the best’. Millions of readers in almost every language on earth have subsequently come to share the author’s own enthusiasm for this greatly loved classic, possibly because of its autobiographical form.

Following the life of David through many sufferings and great adversity, the reader will also find many light-hearted moments in the company of a host of English fiction’s greatest stars including Mr Micawber, Traddles, Uriah Heep, Creakle, Betsy Trotwood, and the Peggoty family.

Few readers, arriving at the end of David Copperfield, will not wish to echo Thackeray’s famous praise, having read the first monthly part – ‘Bravo Dickens’.

About Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens was born in 1812 near Portsmouth where his father was a clerk in the navy pay office. The family moved to London in 1823, but their fortunes were severely impaired. Dickens was sent to work in a blacking-warehouse when his father was imprisoned for debt. Both experiences deeply affected the future novelist. In 1833 he began contributing stories to newspapers and magazines, and in 1836 started the serial publication of Pickwick Papers. Thereafter, Dickens published his major novels over the course of the next twenty years, from Nicholas Nickleby to Little Dorrit. He also edited the journals Household Words and All the Year Round. Dickens died in June 1870.

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