Review: David Copperfield

After reading Martin Chuzzlewit I was a little letdown by Dickens.  Then I started reading David Copperfield and I fell back in love.  Now that I have finished David Copperfield I can render my final verdict on the novel.

But first, here is a brief synopsis.  From the beginning, David’s life was not easy.  His father died before he was born.  His mother was young and had no family.  David’s aunt is disappointed that he is not a girl and leaves the night of his birth determined not to be a part of his life.  When David is a young boy his mother marries Mr. Edward Murdstone, who is not a nice man.  He bullies poor David and one night David snaps and bites Mr. Murdstone.

For this offence David is sent to a boarding school.  Mr. Creakle is a heartless headmaster and David’s difficulties continue.  His mother gives birth to another son, but Mr. Murdstone and his sister, who lives with them, belittles and bullies David’s young mother to an early grave.  And his young brother also dies.  Mr. Murdstone pulls David from school and sends him to work in a factory in London.  By the way, I like how Dickens named him Murdstone, close to murderer.  I’m thinking that wasn’t a mistake.

After the family he lives with in London leaves the city in disgrace David does not have anyone to look out after him.  He decides to run away to Dover to see if his aunt will take pity on him.  His aunt, Miss Betsey Trotwood, is a peculiar lady.  She takes a liking to David, who she calls “Trotwood” or “Trot.”  She sends him to school where he finally receives an education and stability.

This novel follows David through the ups and downs of his life.  While he endures much hardship he also has many friends and supporters throughout his life.  Dickens once again enchanted me with a wonderful cast of characters.  The lovable Micawbers, Traddles, Mr. Dick, Betsey Trotwood, and the Peggotty family are humorous to get to know.  And Uriah Heep is a magnificent villain to hate.

Each time I sat down to read this novel I would devour large chunks at a time.  It made me laugh, cry, think, and most importantly cherish.  My favorite character was Betsey Trotwood.  She’s an eccentric who says what she wants.  During one scene, when a character is confronting her mother and husband, Miss Trotwood is present.  David’s aunt does not like the mother.  Several times she would blurt out things that made me laugh.  Here are some of the quotes from this scene:

“Confound the woman!” said my aunt, “she won’t be quiet.”

“Then hold your tongue, for the Lord’s sake, and don’t mention it any more!” muttered my aunt.

“Really,” interrupted Mrs. Markleham, “If I have any discretion at all-“

“Which you haven’t, you Marplot,” observed my aunt, in an indignant whisper.

Dickens wrote, “Of all my books I like this the best.”  I agree with him.  So far this year I’ve read four novels by Dickens and this is my favorite out of the four.  The others were Oliver Twist,The Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, and Martin Chuzzlewit.  Up next is Bleak House.

I read this novel for my own personal challenge of reading ten novels by Dickens this year, A Classics Challenge, and The Tea and Books Challenge.

About TBM

TB Markinson is an American who's recently returned to the US after a seven-year stint in the UK and Ireland. When she isn't writing, she's traveling the world, watching sports on the telly, visiting pubs in New England, or reading. Not necessarily in that order. Her novels have hit Amazon bestseller lists for lesbian fiction and lesbian romance. She cohosts the Lesbians Who Write Podcast ( with Clare Lydon. TB also runs I Heart Lesfic (, a place for authors and fans of lesfic to come together to celebrate lesbian fiction.
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26 Responses to Review: David Copperfield

  1. I didn´t enjoy Dickens at school then came back to him in my late 20s…time to revisit I think as I too really enjoyed his writing and this (from memory) was one of my favourites! Great review, thanks.

    • TBM says:

      I think a lot of his novels would be too much for a younger person. For me, you need some experience with life, including good and bad, to really appreciate his stories. If you do revisit his works I would love to hear your thoughts.

  2. Caroline says:

    This sounds wonderful. You had a very emotional reaction to it.
    Is it not very similar to Oliver Twist? It’s interesting to know this was his favourite. I wonder why. did he think it was his most accomplished or jus dearest to his heart.

    • TBM says:

      I can see why you think it would be like Oliver Twist, but I didn’t get that sense when I read it. Yes both are orphans, but the stories are, for the most part, different. Also, Twist was much earlier in his career and he kept improving with his storytelling. David Copperfield is his most autobiographical work from what I understand. So I think this work was dearer to his heart. And Oliver Twist is a much darker story. There are evil characters in David Copperfield, but not on the same level. I found this one to be much more entertaining and many of the characters are a pure delight to get to know. I enjoyed Oliver Twist, but when I finished David Copperfield I was sad since I loved each page. It was like saying goodbye to a friend.

      • Caroline says:

        I know what you mean. It’s a wonderful thing when that happesn only it doesn’t happen very often.

      • TBM says:

        It is rare and should be treasured. I wish all of them were like that, but if they were, maybe I wouldn’t find true joy with some.

  3. Most, if not all of Dickens’ works revolve on the struggles that the people during his time had to endure. I haven’t read this one yet even though I’ve read a lot of Dickens’ works already but based from your review, I think it really is a great book and I hope I can read it someday too. 🙂

    • TBM says:

      I think you will like it. I had a hard time putting it down. Now I am reading Bleak House and so far I’m enjoying it, but I do miss the feel of this one a little.

      • I’ve read Bleak House before but I wasn’t able to finish it because I didn’t like it. I don’t know why. 😦
        I was thinking of reading it again and this time, finish it. I hope that you wouldn’t feel the way I did. Maybe on the later part of the story you’d get a better feel for the book. 🙂

      • TBM says:

        It is different from David Copperfield, but so far so good. I was hesitant before I started it since it is about a legal case. But it seems more about the human story and not just legal details. Thank goodness.

  4. Beth Ann says:

    You are inspiring me to read some of Dickens’ works…..on my to be read list…..along with a lot of others!!! 🙂

  5. Saisri says:

    I havent read any Dickens till date! Hope to read one soon. On as aside, how’ve you been TBM?! Long time 🙂

  6. zelmare says:

    Sounds like a wonderful book. Maybe, once I finish Wuthering Heights, I can get this one… 🙂

    • TBM says:

      It might be a nice change from Wuthering Heights…still a classic, but not a violent love story. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed both.

  7. I love the books by Charles Dickens. I especially like “A Tale of Two Cities”.

  8. Fergiemoto says:

    It’s a great book!

  9. robert87004 says:

    This was my first Dickens read many years ago, and still the best.

  10. I have this book on my shelf, i cant wait to read it 🙂

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