David Evans's Reviews > David Copperfield

David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
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's review
Feb 19, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: classics

This book has been waiting for me to read it for some years. I remember seeing TV adaptations as a child on a Sunday evening and could remember key scenes and, especially, the characters but not how they were connected. I was sort of saving it up to be my "Desert Island Discs" book but it's becoming clear that I won't get the invite before I die so I blew the dust off the weighty tome and denied myself the chance to read anything else for 3 weeks. It's certainly not to be read if you're looking for a page turning thriller. Savour the language, the humour, the tragedy. Copperfield's (Dickens's: DC = CD) ability to write in retrospect about the great loves of his life, Steerforth and Dora, with undiminished positive regard despite dawning knowledge of their failings is truly noble, as is his acknowledgement of his own naivety - I particularly enjoyed the Yarmouth waiter who snaffles Copperfield's dinner piecemeal, leaving the young David famished.
Someone else has written here that you start to think that the memories described are your own; having lived with these people for so long you start to believe they must be real. I was at school with Traddles. On the down side there are long passages that are wordy and wearing but then Dickens hits you with a turn of phrase or insight that explodes from the page like a firework; I just can't remember one to use as an example. Not to have read David Copperfield would be a sad omission from one's life. Of course it's worth 5 stars compared to 99% of novels but, incredibly, Dickens wrote better stories.

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