Somehow I got through High School and College without having to read any Charles Dickens, and now, in a way, I am happy for that. I can truly say that reading David Copperfield for the first time, as an adult, was delightful (not a word I use often). I feel that reading this book after having had some life experience myself definitely added to my enjoyment and understanding of it.
Known as the most autobiographical of Dickens’ works, David Copperfield is a coming-of-age epic that was written and takes place in mid-19th Century Victorian England. Beginning with Chapter One, “I Am Born”, we follow David through life, at first with a loving, yet fragile, mother and hateful, abusive step-father, then being bullied and tormented in boarding school, running away to find a better life with his Aunt, a dowager who becomes apoplectic when donkeys stray into her yard, meeting up with the slimy, despicable character of Uriah Heap, falling in love with the idea of love, etc, etc. David must weather some terrible storms in life but always manages to find the inner strength to move forward.
I admit there were many passages that I had to re-read because they were so convoluted, but that became part of the fun for me. Dickens’ ability to vividly paint outlandish and eccentric characters is masterful and kept me engaged and amused the entire 800-some pages and now that I have finished I am truly missing this charming set of characters.
PS There is a fantastic TV production of David Copperfield done by the BBC, staring Daniel Radcliffe as Young David and Maggie Smith as Aunt Betsey Trotwood!