David Copperfield

David Copperfield - Charles Dickens ********SPOILER ALERT********

Before I start with my review proper I just have to let you know that I’d been avoiding David Copperfield ever since watching the tv movie sometime during my childhood. I couldn’t remember the details but the feeling of sadness and abandonment that I associated with David lingered and I didn’t need any more of that in my life so there it went into the ‘to avoid-David who-no more orphan stories’ mental pile.

Then in June of this year, I felt something in me reaching out to David Copperfield saying read it, read it NOW!! So I downloaded the free Kindle version and started, I didn’t hesitate much, I have to say I’m like that. If my instincts are telling me I need to read this, then read it I will. Thank you, instincts.

What I did get from David Copperfield is a feeling of simpatico. At that point in my life I had just turned a corner on my own personal journey, about 12 years in the making, a very uncertain and rocky one characterized by Super Mario-like minefields constantly blowing up my Plan As and necessitating alternate Plans, B through E all resentfully and vaguely sketched out.

David was in a similar position I felt. We both had rocky childhoods and each time he seemed to get a solid footing onto something, the ground would crumble and he’d have to start yet again. Yeah, David and I grew to be fast friends.

This made it easy to follow him on his life’s journey from birth til adulthood. I watched over him as a baby, grinned at his cheeky inquisitiveness as a youngster, wished for him a better mother, felt grateful for the presence of his loyal Pegotty, angered at the welcoming of Mr Murdstone and his cold fish of a sister into the Copperfield household and on and on we went– from heartbreak to the fickle hints of hope, stumbling into new acquaintances, making friends, making enemies, living life amongst a cast of characters from the ludicrous to the evil, being disappointed, being overjoyed, yet remaining hopeful throughout.

This was David Copperfield’s life and at times, I felt like it was mine too. I highlighted page after page of memorable lines from the inspiring to the humorous, forever capturing my favourite characters defining moments and hoping that Betsy Trotwood’s steel backbone would remind me to stick my chin out and say ‘Donkeys, get off my lawn’ just as much as Uriah Heep’s false ‘umbleness’ would serve as a reminder to be wary of the falsity of the overly humble. Nobody is that humble.

To sum up, at 1090 pages, this was one of the longest books I’ve read but it didn’t feel like it and I can truly understand why Charles Dickens considered this his baby. David kept me company during one of those trying times we all wish would just bypass us and venture out to sea like their more elemental brethren. I’d recommend this wholeheartedly and hope that whoever picks this up next enjoys it as much as I did.