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Showing 1-10 of 1,350 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 1,776 reviews
on January 2, 2017
My Grandfather introduced me to Dickens on my tenth birthday, giving me Oliver Twist and stating, (as I was a voracious reader even then) "If you haven't read Dickens, you haven't read." Well... I cannot comment on that but I had read most of Dicken's before I was twelve and in my second (or third) reading of some of his books I have just finished re-reading David Copperfield. A very large book...coming in at eight hundred odd pages in my edition (which also has the most delightful pen and ink illustrations) be ready for a long but satisfying journey into the life and times of Dickens.
Dickens stated David Copperfield was his 'favourite child' .... he was well pleased with the result and many claim it was largely autobiographical.
Yes.... I love it...although very wordy and descriptive... but not my favourite. I much prefer Great Expectations or Tale of Two Cities.
However once again the reader is treated to a bevy of unforgettable characters. Apart from David Copperfield, there is his austere but warm and giving Aunt, Betsy Trotwood.... the charming and loquacious Micawber and his doting wife, the dreadful Murdstone siblings, the vile and undulating Uriah Heep and the simple but loveable character of Mr Dick. Dickens somehow manages to name his characters in such a way the name befits the character.... like the loving Peggotty... David's childhood nurse. Long before a descriptive word was read I could picture this warm and loving woman.
Sadly Charles Dickens died early in life at the age of fifty eight. Nonetheless he was incredibly prolific, and in an era where the production of a novel must have been quite a task, this in itself is remarkable. I salute Charles Dickens.... who wrote many masterpieces and is still being read almost two hundred years later and perhaps for many years to come.
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on March 9, 2013
The Result: Success! David Copperfield (by my standards) took me a while to read, but I enjoyed this Dickens novel. Though I still like Jane Austen much better. "David Copperfield is the story of a young man's adventures on his journey from an unhappy and impoverished childhood to the discovery of his vocation as a successful novelist. Among the gloriously vivid cast of characters he encounters are his tyrannical stepfather, Mr. Murdstone; his formidable aunt, Betsey Trotwood; the eternally humble yet treacherous Uriah Heep; frivolous, enchanting Dora; and the magnificently impecunious Micawber, one of literature's great comic creations. In David Copperfield--the novel he described as his "favorite child"--Dickens drew revealingly on his own experiences to create one of his most exuberant and enduringly popular works, filled with tragedy and comedy in equal measure."

David Copperfield is definitely filled with tragedy and comedy in equal measure. Dickens can be so slyly funny in a verbose sort of way; but of course, so many really sad things happen to poor David. I wasn't in tears, but close to it. He's a bright boy, and he doesn't deserve all the misfortunes that befall him. I'm not going to reveal anything, but it's pretty easy to guess what happens to him.

Dickens is renowned for his character portraits, and I have to say, they were really good. I particularly liked the portrayal of the horrible Mr. Murdstone, David's stepfather. He's so amazingly drawn, and I hated him fiercely, which is obviously what the reader is supposed to do. Here's a passage that I liked from pretty early on: "In short, I was not a favorite there with anybody, not even with myself; for those who did like me could not show it, and those who did not, showed it so plainly that I had a sensitive consciousness of always appearing constrained, boorish, and dull." (pg. 129). Overwritten? Yes. Clever? Also a yes. I realize that passage didn't pertain particularly to Mr. Murdstone, but it kind of illustrates David's conditions at home.

One cannot write a review of any Dickens novel without commenting on his excessively over-written writing. Yes, it's off-putting at first, but I found myself getting absorbed in David's story about 100 pages in. You can't blame the poor guy really; he was paid by the word, so he squeezed as many of them as he could into his novels (at least, that's the story). Still, in a less over-written fashion, David Copperfield probably could have been told in about 400 or 500 pages. Of course, that would kind of destroy the whole "style" of the book.

Charles Dickens is nowhere near as great as Jane Austen in my opinion, but I still find myself enjoying him. The first Dickens novel I ever read was Oliver Twist...in third grade. And no, it was not abridged. I probably absorbed about 1% of it, but I remember liking it. I'll have to reread it sometime. I enjoyed Great Expectations and The Old Curiosity Shop, and loved A Tale of Two Cities (seeing the movie may have helped).

David Copperfield was not my favorite Dickens, and it was very long-winded, but I did enjoy it, actually more than I thought I would. Sometimes Dickens's sly writing can be so great. Like when David falls in love with the flighty Dora. I loved the descriptions of how he loses all reason when she's around. It was so well written and humorous. I would recommend David Copperfield, but try one of his shorter novels first. Like A Tale of Two Cities..

So this round of Big, Big, Big, Big Book was a success! Next possible reads for it: War and Peace (a big book if I ever saw one), Don Quixote, Tom Jones, The Count of Monte Cristo, Jerusalem (not a classic), The Brothers Karamazov, Middlemarch, Tom Jones, Vanity Fair, The Origin of Species and Bleak House. Any suggestions? I know I'm going to read Don Quixote next, but after that?

Check out my blog, Cleo's Literary Reviews.
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on May 26, 2012
I loved this sprawling novel, but it definitely isn't for those readers who like their authors to get right to the point. A self-told account of David Copperfield (who is apparently a thinly veiled version of the author himself) from birth to mid-life, the novel has several peaks of action. Events that modern readers may expect to happen quickly (courtship and marriage) instead may take years. However, Dickens is such a great storyteller that I was glad to go along with him for the ride. The special pleasure of the novel isn't Copperfield himself (he's a capable narrator, but a little bland for my tastes), but the secondary characters Dickens creates for us - the loathsome Uriah Heep, the nasty Murdstones, the entire spoiled Steerforth family, and - my favorites - Mr. and Mrs. Micawber, the man who can't stay out of financial trouble and the woman who swears she will never desert him. I've read hundreds of novels over the years and the Micwabers have to be some of my favorite characters ever.

So, yes. It is over a thousand pages and you will be reading it for a while. Some reviewers have suggested that the flaws they see in the novel are a consequence of it being written serially - but who would want to read a novel this long that didn't have several different rises and falls in action? I wouldn't want to wait until page 900 for all the different plot points to come to fruition.

The Kindle version of this novel is very readable - I'm sure there were a couple of typos, but nothing that I can remember. Overall, I highly recommend this book.
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on December 30, 2014
I read this novel for the first time as a very young man about 50 years ago, I loved it then and still forced to revisit my friends within its pages every year or so. So much of it's contents are autobiographical of different phases of Dicken's own life, and so m any parallels to my own life. The depth and diversity of characters that are developed throughout the novel bring them to life and makes own feel that they are indeed personal friends. The tears rise in my eyes at the same places every time, in fact I have dared myself to read through those parts without tears but have failed every time. Whatever your age the first time you're fingers turn the first page, this is a book that will grow old with you. So please take the time to read this book for the first or the twenty-first time and travel the Path of David's life and meet some of my closest friends.
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on August 9, 2012
I recently re-read Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities, and was considering picking up another of his novels. When I saw that a new production of Dickens' semi-autobiographical 1850 novel David Copperfield had just been released narrated by Ralph Cosham, one of my favorite audiobook readers, I eagerly queued the novel up.

David Copperfield chronicles the life, from birth to mid-life, of the title character, and is told in first person from Copperfield's point of view. Many elements of Copperfield's life parallel Dickens' own. Child labor, debtors prisons, and endeavors in law, journalism, and writing all have their origins in Dickens' own experience. Other than optimism, Copperfield is largely shaped by the circumstances he finds himself in and the characters he encounters.

Dickens does a great job of providing fully-formed secondary characters. Attention is paid to the personality and motivation of virtually everyone Copperfield meets, down to waiters, landlords, and coachmen. My three favorite characters in the novel are Mr. Micawber, Betsey Trotwood, and Uriah Heep. Copperfield lives for a time with Mr. Micawber as a boy, and the pair form a strong connection. Mr. Micawber is characterized by pecuniary difficulties, a taste for the verbose, and faith that something will, in short, turn up. He's amusing whenever he turns up. David's great-aunt Betsey Trotwood is a feisty, strong-willed, no-nonsense woman who is, in fact, quite caring towards those who earn her good graces. Uriah Heep is a despicable clerk, who hides his schemes and ambitions in a cloak of humbleness and subservience. My skin crawled whenever he appeared on scene. In addition to memorable characters, Dickens' crafts some fantastic language in this novel. The dialogue, in particular, is quite good, and many a line will stick with me.

The main downside to the story is that there's no central thread to the narrative. While the novel is largely a coming of age story like Dickens' Great Expectation, it lacks any particular goal. Pip strives to become a gentleman and earn Estella's love in Great Expectations, but there's no similar target in Copperfield's mind. He moves from challenge to challenge well enough, but never seems to have any particular direction of his own. While this, most probably, is closer to real life than Pip's goals, it makes for a somewhat meandering novel.

I listened to Blackstone Audio's 2012 production of David Copperfield, narrated by Ralph Cosham. Cosham is a favorite narrator of mine, and he does an excellent job here. The novel contains a very large cast of characters, and Cosham manages to make them all sound distinct and memorable. From the despicably conniving and humble Uriah Heep to the solid and seafaring Mr. Peggotty to the adorable and silly Dora, you know as soon as Cosham starts speaking which character you're listening to. Cosham also does a great job of using timing and volume to set a scene. The hands down best example of this is a scene towards the end of the novel featuring Mr. Micawber and Uriah Heep, which is one of my favorite scenes of the novel, in no small part because of Cosham's performance. The unabridged recording runs approximately 34 hours.

Dickens' David Copperfield is an excellent novel. The lack of central theme holds it back some, but the many interesting and amusing characters and the memorable dialogue makes it worth reading for anyone looking to give Dickens a go. I highly recommend Cosham's performance of the novel to audiobook fans.

Note: I received a complimentary review copy of this audiobook from the publisher.
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on August 6, 2012
My interest in Charles Dickens was rekindled when, earlier this year, I visited an exhibition about his life and times, at the London City Museum, to mark the 200th anniversary of his birth. Something I came upon in this very interesting exhibit, indicated that "David Copperfield" was Dickens' favorite creation. Not too long ago, I read and loved "Bleak House" and I felt I was up to the 900 pages of "David Copperfield." The question for me in undertaking to read such a long and leisurely book, is whether it is worth the time spent. As the middle of the book dragged on at a very slow pace, more suited perhaps to the Victorian era than to today, I had my doubts. But, as the narrative picked up, I was very happy to have read this very wonderful book to completion.
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on October 2, 2012
So, yeah. I am not going to write up a review of Bleak House here. There are a 10^10 places on the internet where you can read about the plot, meaning, writing style, etc. of such a classic novel. What I really want to write up here are the answers to the questions I had about buying this particular edition (Vintage Classics).

So, the problem always arises when buying a copy of a book, such as this one, that is in the public domain. There are invariably many, many options to choose from. Often, classics are published in really, really terrible formats. Crappy feeling pages, poor typesetting, public domain (hard to read) fonts. I know these concerns seem quibbling, and, really, they are; but I really hate it when I get burned on a book purchase that is a pain to read because of aesthetic problems with the book.

Well, this book, I am happy with it. The type is legible and reasonably sized (neither too big, nor too small), the cover is sturdy, and the pages are heavy enough to write on if you're so inclined. My sole complaint would be the pages are of slightly varying sizes opposite the spine. I think this is a common affect applied to some paperbacks. I think it's supposed to make them look nicer, I find it annoying, whatever, it's a small fault. I'd recommend this edition, it's well put together.
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on October 20, 2012
"David Copperfield" is the book that Dickens called his "favorite child."

I hadn't read this book since high school (long ago), so I had happily forgotten the plot and many of the characters. Upon re-reading, Dickens' genius in creating characters seemed obvious to me. His most memorable characters are "people" you may never forget. I certainly remembered Uriah Heep and Mr. Micawber.

Beginning at the beginning, have you ever encountered people as wicked and haughty as Mr. Murdstone and his incredible unmarried sister, Miss Murdstone? Have you ever met such people in the work of any other writer?

I would guess not. But there is also Peggoty (David's devoted nurse), the sadistic headmaster of a boys' school who enjoys beating his charges EVERY DAY, David's false idol Steerforth, and characters who truly boggle the mind -- unforgettable people like Uriah Heep and Mr. Micawber.

If you think this is easy to do, try it yourself! :-)

As for Dickens, Chesterton remarked that -- even if one of his characters was "stolen," he would be back the next day with someone just as fascinating. Chesterton also remarked that his characters were giants who generally did not change -- any more than Miss Murdstone. They were like the gods of Olympus in that respect. (In this book, though, there is one character who changes completely, and over night to boot.)

So much for the characters. The story is also interesting!

A very high recommendation!!
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on May 28, 2016
I was assigned David Copperfield when I was in 8th grade...1956...but never did actually read it. Mrs. Woodruff, of course, knew that.. I've finally gotten around to reading it. Many of the characters will live with me the rest of my life. I had already gotten to hate Uriah Heep...why would anyone name a band after that low-life?

And, Wilkins McCawber will always be with me.

Someone recently suggested that Dickens was paid by the word. He certainly must have made money on this one! But, the story is good and I feel that I have known Mr. and Miss Murdstone in several incarnations. I recommend it.
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on June 30, 2014
I don't know if I would say this was illustrated, or maybe my definition is different than the publisher's definition, but I loved this book. I never had to read it in high school or college. I have been having bad luck with the books I have been picking lately. None of them were really fantastic. This one reminded me about why I love words themselves and literature so much. I'm glad I got it on the Kindle though because I did have to look up a lot of words - it has been a while since I have read any classics - my vocabulary has suffered.

I'm only giving it four stars because I don't feel like it was illustrated. I didn't expect every page to be illustrated, but I expected some of them to be. I didn't notice/don't remember ANY illustrations (and I just flipped back through to confirm this), except the one on the cover. The book itself was fantastic, it just didn't have the illustrations that it said it would.
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