54 of 56 people found the following review helpful
This was Dickens' own personal favourite of all his novels, and here we are presented it with an active table of contents. There is no doubt that this is a great novel and has been admired by Tolstoy and Woolf amongst many authors who have enjoyed it or have been given inspiration due to it. Of all Dickens' novels this is also his most autobiographical.
The story although long is simple in itself, it is the tale of David Copperfield from his birth through to his maturity, what obstacles he faces in life and what friends he makes. With a whole host of great characters there is nothing to dislike with this tale, and in the case of Betsy Trotwood, were inspired by real people. Betsy was based on Mary Strong who lived at Broadstairs and really did chase the boys and their donkeys off her lawn, resulting in legal proceedings being initiated. Other characters and events were based on real happenings.
If you like to read for pleasure and want to immerse yourself in something that is really great then you can't really go wrong with this book.
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on 14 February 2008
This is not just a book, it's more of a whole of life experience. You will have to prepare yourself for the long haul and almost breathe your way through Mr Copperfield's life. But it is worth it because it is quite a life story and you will get to know and like or even dislike quite a few people along the way. I read it because I had enjoyed Oliver Twist and Great Expectations and love to understand and appreciate the simplicities and difficulties of the Victorian way of life and the great characters Dickens always invents.... and to be sure, he didn't let me down with this one either.
It's a long read and not for the faint hearted in any way. Some passages are long and by todays standards very cumbersome and long winded but if you like a good story, great characters and fancy a step out of the digital age for a while then this is for you.
27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on 29 February 2004
This book is amazing and touching. Normally I would not attempt to read such a big book but I felt like a challenging read and I can not put it down. It is the story of David's life and I would recommend it to anybody since it is the only novel that has ever brought a tear to my eye. For me, this is not a book that I can read and return to a library, I need a copy of the magic within. The language may be difficult to understand at first but if you are patient, you will get the hang of it and it will be many times more rewarding. When reading a book, I like to read the story and come to the end of the book so that I know how it ends but with David Copperfield, of course I want to come to the end, but I also want to make the book last. I have been reading it for a month now and I still have 1/4 of the book to read. Because it is taking to long, it feels to me as though I am following David slowly through his life and I believe that is how this novel should be read.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 20 January 2008
Copperfield is Dickens' masterpiece and it is his semi-autobiographical approach which makes the work doubly fascinating. The similarities between Copperfield and the historical Dickens- which are numerous- add a potency and extra interest to the narrative.
Still, it is the wonderful likeability and absurdity of so many of the characters in DC which really make the story. Barkiss, Peggotty, Ham and Agnes are wonderfully virtuous and kind- if uncomplicated in their different ways.
Heap and Steerforth- who share in common their eventual villainy- are, by no coinicidence, contrastingly complex, unfathomable throughout and misguided.
However, the problems of simplicity are evident in Dora: Dickens acknowledges limits to the virtuosity of simplicity. Her downfall is nevertheless tragic, but we know it is in the interests of David's long term happiness to marry Agnes.
Dickens' achievement in the book is his profound sympathy for the human condition: there is virtue in every rank, but virtue takes many forms. Moreover, Dickens shows how inextricably he perceives one's life as constructed around the lives and fortunes of those one encounters in youth. It is striking that Copperfield's life is essentially determined by those he encounters in his formative years. The most important and complex role and character is that of his Aunt, almost an eccentric fairytale godmother character, whose contibution almost suggests her metaphysical condition as a kind of guiding light. She rescues David and looks after him when noone else will. The tenuous conditions upon which humans succeed and fail are clear because of her role.
The book is memorable, complicated and profound: it immortalised Dickens himself as well as his characters.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 9 November 2012
I've now read D.C. three times and it gets better every time. It was apparently his own favourite book and certainly seems to draw heavily on his own past at times. But ... there's always a point, just after the first half of the book, when it loses its initial momentum and brilliance - basically as David starts to grow up and become an adult. And at times it lapses into the mushy sentiment and melodrama that is always a bit of a mountain to climb for modern readers. In other words, it's at its best when David is a child, and the vulnerability that Dickens must have experienced so painfully himself, is always present. But there's always such a wonderful parade of characters throughout the book: Betsy Trotwood is one of the best female characters throughout his novels (and one of the few convincing ones to my mind) with her fear of intruding donkeys and blunt ways, and the sympathetically drawn mentally-fragile Mr Dick. The Micawbers, of course, and 'umble' Uriah Heap, who has to be one of the most loathsome villains in the history of fiction, and then there's the terrifying Murdstones, who never get the come-uppance you feel they deserve.
Although the narrator is the adult looking back, one feels that he never loses the boy he describes so well, and that I'm sure is probably true of Dickens, who unlike most adults, retained that inner child to an unusual degree. The caricatures that are such a hallmark of Dickens style, singling out oddities and building on them to create characters, is straight out of a child's mind, and never does he do it better than here.
23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on 10 June 2011
David Copperfield is the classic coming of age story, and supposedly Dickens favourite novel out of all his brilliant work. David as a boy grows up without a father and is raised by his mother and her loyal maid, Clara Peggoty. All is good until David's mother marries the indignant Mr. Murdstone. David is sent off to Boarding school, run by a cruel schoolmaster Mr. Creakle. David's mother dies and at the age of 10, the boy is sent to work in London. He runs away to search for his aunt, Betsy Trotwood, who eventually adopts him. The second part of this novel shows the grown-up David Copperfiel apprenticed as a clerk to work in a law firm. He meets his boss's daughter Dora and falls in love and we meet the infamous and revolting Lawyer, Uriah Heap. Disaster is around the corner but all will be re-deemed.
Superbly crafted classic that sits invitingly in my Kindle library.
The Spire Chronicle
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 27 October 2009
I first read "David Copperfield" several years ago, and since then it has remained my favorite book. This is based mainly on the early section of the book, the first 12 chapters, or 160-ish pages, detailing the earliest years of the title character, filled with events so vivid and moving and characters so alive that they can't be forgotten. Many are based on Dickens' own childhood experiences, such as David's employment in a blacking factory, which echoes Dickens' own fate after his father (the original of Mr. Micawber) was imprisoned for debt. Dickens seems to have been scarred for life by the business of the blacking factory, less by what befell him there than by the sense of being abandoned by his parents to a life of menial labour, and the sense of social shame, which was obviously important to Dickens, and is a central aspect of Pip's character in "Great Expectations". The immediacy and evocative power of many of the early episodes is unparalleled, in other Dickens books, or any books by anybody. It's genius without equal.
It must be noted that this is a highly uneven book. One cannot hope to divine the mystery of how the same mind who wrote of, say, David's "memorable birthday" in Chapter IX can also be responsible for the crass emotionalism that peppers the later part of the book (the character of Agnes Wickfield, especially, being the source of grave excesses). Alas, this dichotomy is only too familiar to the habitual reader of Dickens. His flaws are so great as would be fatal to almost any writer, but they are outweighed by his unique gifts, and these gifts are nowhere more in evidence than in parts of "David Copperfield".
Note: I also found Jeremy Tambling's introduction to this Penguin edition to be a particularly interesting and insightful specimen of its kind.
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on 7 May 2009
Despite a host of different characters, the reader manages to keep it all brilliantly clear, funny, tender and moving. Abridged to cut some of the description but little of the action.
31 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on 9 June 2001
My curiosity about the works of Charles Dickens drew me to this title. All I can say is that if curiosity killed the cat, than it must have been an extremely pleasant way to go! Dickens is a wordsmith of unquestionable mastery and I was astounded by his ability to draw the reader completely into the lives of his characters - to such an extent that we feel each set back and each triumph as keenly as they do. This is also a novel packed with emotion - anyone who can get through it without both laughing and crying must have a heart of stone. David Copperfield is an engrossing book that is rightly viewed as a literary classic - one that everybody should read.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 5 March 2012
At the end of 2011 I heard a radio reviewer urge everyone to try Dickens again, so I did. I started with David Copperfield on the Kindle. It was an amazingly good read and not at all how I remembered Dickens from my youth. I think the Kindle helps as you have no idea of the huge thickness of the book when you start, although those % progress numbers creep up very slowly! The story is genuinely gripping; I found myself thinking about the plot and the characters at random moments during the day. It's interesting to follow a character from birth to adulthood and, being Dickens, from highs to lows and back again several times. Dickens weaves a cast of beautifully described characters into his usual tale of Victorian righteousness in an often squalid setting and with some good humour thrown in. Try it!