Friday, January 9, 2009

David Copperfield

by Charles Dickens

I spent a long time trying to think of a brief summary (the book is well over 800 pages - I don't want to take the whole review summarizing!) and finally looking for one online. I'm not sure a good brief summary exists, but here is one from Amazon:

David Copperfield is the story of a young man’s adventures on his journey from an unhappy and impoverished childhood to the discovery of his vocation as a successful novelist. Among the gloriously vivid cast of characters he encounters are his tyrannical stepfather, Mr. Murdstone; his formidable aunt, Betsey Trotwood; the eternally humble yet treacherous Uriah Heep; frivolous, enchanting Dora; and the magnificently impecunious Micawber...

Before Christmas, the Seattle-area got snowed in. Roads were closed, church/school was canceled, life pretty much stopped for a few days. In those few days I read all of the unread books in my house. The grocery store and library finally reopened the day before Christmas Eve, but the roads were still treacherous and I'm a chicken, so I walked. First, I hit up the grocery store to buy essentials. Sadly, the essentials filled my back pack, so I didn't have room (or the strength) to get many books. As a result, I needed to pick a book I knew would last for at least a week on its own. Hence, I came to read David Copperfield.

With that fascinating introduction, I will admit that David Copperfield has been on my TBR list for quite a while, and that I enjoyed it immensely. As with all of Dickens' works (that I have read) the first few chapters were a bit slow. I believe that some of that is just adjusting to the language/writing of the time. However, on the whole, I thought the story and plot moved right along.

David was an interesting character, and I enjoyed watching him figure things out. I did think it was odd how often he wept though. Was it common for teenage boys/grown men to weep during the Victorian age?

I loved Mr. Micawber. The scene near the end between Micawber and Uriah was fabulous. I actually laughed out loud. I also loved David's aunt, and the fact the she constantly throughout his life referred to his sister that disappointed her. The other characters, Peggoty, Mr. Peggoty, David's mother, etc were also interesting and developed. Though, I was glad when we stopped seeing Mr. Peggoty because I found him difficult to understand.

In sum: The characters are fabulous and well developed, the plot is interesting and plods along at an enjoyable pace, and I fully recommend this book to all.

4 out of 5 stars.


Kim said...

We read this one for Book Club last year but unfortunately I only got about 1/3 of the way through it. Then I put it aside and haven't gotten back to it. I'm not sure why because I liked what I had read and I'm sure I'll like the rest. It just takes a little commitment and I haven't been ready to give it my full attention again. Your post made me think I should pick it back up sooner rather than later. Thanks.

Chain Reader said...

I'm so happy to hear that you liked this. It's one of my very favorites. I've heard so many anti-Dickens comments in the blogging world I was wondering if I was the only one who likes him! The movie of this with Daniel Radcliffe as the young David and Maggie Smith as the aunt is also really good.

Jeane said...

Dickens books are often hard for me to get through, especially the long ones (800 pages, yikes!) I never made it thru this one, so I enjoyed reading your review.

KT said...

Kim - This is a pretty big pick for a book club book. I hope you enjoy it when you get back to it.

Chain - I'm a pretty big fan of Dickens too - they just take more time/effort than I usually feel like devoting to a book... I have the movie version you were talking about in my Netflix queue. I'm glad you liked it!

Jeane - I'm glad you liked it!