David Copperfield ★★★★★

davidcopperfield (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: David Copperfield
Series: ———-
Author: Charles Dickens
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Classic
Pages: 853
Words: 357.5K

 

Synopsis:

From Wikipedia

The story follows the life of David Copperfield from childhood to maturity. David was born in Blunderstone, Suffolk, England, six months after the death of his father. David spends his early years in relative happiness with his loving, childish mother and their kindly housekeeper, Clara Peggotty. They call him Davy. When he is seven years old his mother marries Edward Murdstone. To get him out of the way, David is sent to lodge with Peggotty’s family in Yarmouth. Her brother, fisherman Mr Peggotty, lives in a beached barge, with his adopted relatives Emily and Ham, and an elderly widow, Mrs Gummidge. “Little Em’ly” is somewhat spoiled by her fond foster father, and David is in love with her. They call him Master Copperfield.

On his return, David is given good reason to dislike his stepfather, who believes exclusively in firmness, and has similar feelings for Murdstone’s sister Jane, who moves into the house soon afterwards. Between them they tyrannize his poor mother, making her and David’s lives miserable, and when, in consequence, David falls behind in his studies, Murdstone attempts to thrash him – partly to further pain his mother. David bites him and soon afterwards is sent away to Salem House, a boarding school, under a ruthless headmaster named Mr Creakle. There he befriends an older boy, James Steerforth, and Tommy Traddles. He develops an impassioned admiration for Steerforth, perceiving him as someone noble, who could do great things if he would, and one who pays attention to him.

David goes home for the holidays to learn that his mother has given birth to a baby boy. Shortly after David returns to Salem House, his mother and her baby die, and David returns home immediately. Peggotty marries the local carrier, Mr Barkis. Murdstone sends David to work for a wine merchant in London – a business of which Murdstone is a joint owner. David’s landlord, Wilkins Micawber, is arrested for debt and sent to the King’s Bench Prison, where he remains for several months, before being released and moving to Plymouth. No one remains to care for David in London, so he decides to run away, with Micawber advising him to head to Dover, to find his only known remaining relative, his eccentric and kind-hearted great-aunt Betsey Trotwood. She had come to Blunderstone at his birth, only to depart in ire upon learning that he was not a girl. However, she takes pity on him and agrees to raise him, despite Murdstone’s attempt to regain custody of David, on condition that he always try to ‘be as like his sister, Betsey Trotwood’ as he can be, meaning that he is to endeavour to emulate the prospective namesake she was disappointed not to have. David’s great-aunt renames him “Trotwood Copperfield” and addresses him as “Trot”, one of several names David is called by in the novel.

David’s aunt sends him to a better school than the last he attended. It is run by Dr Strong, whose methods inculcate honour and self-reliance in his pupils. During term, David lodges with the lawyer Mr Wickfield, and his daughter Agnes, who becomes David’s friend and confidante. Wickfield’s clerk, Uriah Heep, also lives at the house.

By devious means, Uriah Heep gradually gains a complete ascendancy over the aging and alcoholic Wickfield, to Agnes’s great sorrow. Heep hopes, and maliciously confides to David, that he aspires to marry Agnes. Ultimately with the aid of Micawber, who has been employed by Heep as a secretary, his fraudulent behaviour is revealed. At the end of the book, David encounters him in prison, convicted of attempting to defraud the Bank of England.

After completing school, David apprentices to be a proctor. During this time, due to Heep’s fraudulent activities, his aunt’s fortune has diminished. David toils to make a living. He works mornings and evenings for his former teacher Doctor Strong as a secretary, and also starts to learn shorthand, with the help of his old school-friend Traddles, upon completion reporting parliamentary debate for a newspaper. With considerable moral support from Agnes and his own great diligence and hard work, David ultimately finds fame and fortune as an author, writing fiction.

David’s romantic but self-serving school friend, Steerforth, also re-acquaints himself with David, but then goes on to seduce and dishonour Emily, offering to marry her off to his manservant Littimer before deserting her in Europe. Her uncle Mr Peggotty manages to find her with the help of Martha, who had grown up in their part of England, and then settled in London. Ham, who had been engaged to marry Emily before the tragedy, dies in a fierce storm off the coast in attempting to succour a ship. Steerforth was aboard the ship and also died. Mr Peggotty takes Emily to a new life in Australia, accompanied by Mrs Gummidge and the Micawbers, where all eventually find security and happiness.

David, meanwhile, has fallen completely in love with Dora Spenlow, and then marries her. Their marriage proves troublesome for David in the sense of everyday practical affairs, but he never stops loving her. Dora dies early in their marriage after a miscarriage. After Dora’s death, Agnes encourages David to return to normal life and his profession of writing. While living in Switzerland to dispel his grief over so many losses, David realises that he loves Agnes. Upon returning to England, after a failed attempt to conceal his feelings, David finds that Agnes loves him too. They quickly marry and in this marriage, he finds true happiness. David and Agnes then have at least five children, including a daughter named after his great-aunt, Betsey Trotwood.

 

My Thoughts:

I don’t know how to write this review without resorting to manly beating of my chest and loud hollering of execrations against my enemies in jubilation of their downfall.

Dickens’ strength is in his characters. This book showcases some of his best characters in my opinion. From the titular character of David Copperfield to the child wife Dora to the competent Agnes to the never quite his fault Mr Micawber to the sniveling Uria Heep to the selfishly evil Steersforth. Dickens makes every single one of them a real person that you can think is real.

I also appreciated that Copperfield wasn’t a golden boy. He had a hard life and had some pretty bad things happen to him. But it made the happy ending all the sweeter. I NEED the majority of my books to have happy endings of one sort or another. Or at least the chance for a happy ending. I think that is what I like so much about Dickens’ writing. He knows that people need a happy ending in their stories and he’s not afraid to give it to them.

Dickens also isn’t afraid to face the very nature of human nature. He realizes some people are just downright evil and he writes his characters that way. He doesn’t make excuses for people like Uriah Heep or Steersforth, he simply portrays them as they are. While evil can be abstract in ideas and philosophies, it can also be personified in a character.

And that turns out to be all I have to say. I’ve been staring at the screen for almost 30 minutes and nothing else comes to mind. While I enjoyed Dickens earlier in life, I have never enjoyed him more than now. This only excites me about reading him again in another 10-15 years!

★★★★★

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

38 thoughts on “David Copperfield ★★★★★

        1. On a different note, what has changed at your site? Every time I leave my first comment on a post it disappears and doesn’t show up until later, but the time stamp is for when I did comment.
          That was why I asked about comment moderation on Traitor.

          Liked by 1 person

  1. Yes, oh yes, a hundred times yes! How well did Dickens write characters!?! When you consider when he was writing, it’s incredible how brilliantly the characters stand up today. I love David Copperfield but it’s been a long time since I read it. Now you’ve made me want to dig it out and start reading it again. Your enthusiasm is contagious, and it’s great that you enjoyed it even more this time. In fact, when I finish my current read(s) I will choose a book by Dickens I haven’t read yet. I’ve read this, Great Expectations, Oliver Twist, Hard Times, and A Christmas Carol. Any others you might have read and recommend?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A Christmas carol is nice and short, so that has that for an advantage. I liked all the ones you listed, obviously, but Oliver Twist stands out, not for any particular reason though 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. As a kid I really thought it’s a novel about a magician 😀
    Dickens is less popular in my country… but I’ve read Christmas Carol, and later The Tale of Two Cities, one day I will revisit, perhaps I’ll go for this then, or for Oliver Twist 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That blasted piece of filthy scum has soiled the name of David Copperfield. I actually have no problem with his acts or anything, but to take a name inspired by Dickens and turn into that? That is unforgivable…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Yes, Dickens at his best! I think that some of the realism in this comes from this being his most autobiographical novel. Davey shares many of Dickens’ personal experiences, and Micawber is basically a fictionalization version of his father

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I never really knew what Copperfield was all about till now but I am glad that Dickens continues to astonish you as he does with his ultra-realistic characters who carry his stories from start to finish. This will have to stay at the top of my Dickens-must-read list for sure. 😛

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dickens DOES astonish me. The fact that I am loving these stories MORE makes me wonder if I’m going to have to create a special 6star category for books that are 5stars but I like better each time.
      Something like a Special Super Elite Rating. Or The Bookstooge Cadre. Something cool, menacing and yet totally awesome 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Is English your second, or third language? I can’t remember if you had to learn Dutch before that? I’m guessing English as second because of the predominance of it worldwide.

      In many ways I am jealous that you get the chance to read classic books as an adult for the first time. You’ve got more maturity and life experience to judge the books by instead of just being a ignorant teen 😀

      I mean, look at you and Dune. There is NO way I would have reacted like that to it when I was a teen and I loved Dune back then 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. English is my second language. Afrikaans being my first language helped me a lot with learning Dutch as i understand most words already seeing as Dutch is where Afrikaans originated from.

        Thank you for such a long reply man. And I hope i will not disappoint when i get to those books.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. “Or at least the chance for a happy ending.” Yeah, I don’t demand happy ending (and occasionally, one had better not be in the cards), but the possibility of one, the chance that the protagonists you spend that much time with will find a way through the mess and come out okay…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep. I find the idea of nihilism and despair to go against everything I see in the world. So why should I accept it in my books?

      Hows the comments section looking on your blog?

      Like

  6. This book has been on my TBR since my English teacher made us analyse the opening and compare it to another text we were actually reading. But when I realised how ginormous it was, well, I kind of got intimidated but reading your review makes me feel like I’m missing out! Perhaps I’ll get to it soon. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Most of Dickens books are big, so once you wrap your mind around that fact and dismiss it, then you can concentrate on the story and characters.

      It IS a time commitment though, so don’t jump in lightly 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Did Charles Dickens write a book called Siegfried and Roy? If he didn’t, he missed out. Seems like a cheap shot to cash in on a known brand like Copperfield. Hammering this joke into the ground for the second day running…for the record, Little Dorrit is my favoutite Dickens.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dude, if this was 1700, we Puritans would burn you at the stake for practicing necromancy on that joke!
      😀 😀 😀

      Little Dorrit is your favorite Dickens? I have not re-read that yet, so my hazy recollections of it are from back in ’08. I think I called it my favorite Dickens to date at that time (I am finding that I love the Dickens book I am currently reading “the most”, until I read the next one and IT becomes my favorite, hahahahaa). Well, I guess I know which book is next in my Dickens re-read…

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Thanks for stopping by Steph. Sorry your comment got caught in spam. I’ve been getting a LOT of spam recently so I think the spam filter is being extra heavy handed.

    There are so many varieties of classics that I’m sure you’ll find a particular place you can fit right into. For me,I know that 20th century classics simply don’t fit. In fact, most books that get the classic title that were written after 1900 usually don’t get a seal of approval from me. So while that’s a negative example, just a bit of encouragement to find your niche and dive on in 😀

    Like

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