“David Copperfield” by Dickens


Thanks to my friend Amy at New Century Reading, I finally read David Copperfield. In a weird bit of serendipity and synchronicity, I was reading David at the same time I was reading Donna Tartt’s Goldfinch, which is an homage, though it took me nigh unto 500 pages into Goldfinch for the penny to drop.

I struggled to get through much of Davy, or Daisy, which one of his frenemies dubs him. Last year’s reading of Bleak House was enjoyable from the start, and my weekly reading of that book was a highlight. Davy, though, was forever reminding me of another, better, coming-of-age novel narrated in first person by an orphan who encountered a panoply of people both good and bad as s/he journeyed through life. Dickens claims not to have read Jane Eyre, but there are numerous echoes, some very specific as when the orphans flee and their luggage is lost. I can’t help but think that this book, one that helped launch the ubiquitous adjective Dickensian, owes much to Charlotte Bronte’s book that preceded it. But perseverance paid off. Around page 485, Davy’s narrative picked up when Aunt Betsy Trotwood, a terrific character, made a surprising announcement. From there till the end I found it fun to read.

It’s faint praise, I know, to say that a book really picks up at page 485. That’s why I’m so glad I read this in a group, which kept me going through the slow parts. One friend dropped out, and I wish she’d stayed on to see the further adventures of Aunt Betsey.

This week I’m taking on another readalong for Moby Dick. Readers can follow on Beth’s weblog, and tweet at #TCMoby. I’m sure at some point I swore off these readlongs up and down, yet they’re an easy and enjoyable way to take little sips of big books and keep chipping away at them till they’re done while also having plenty of time for shorter, funner books.

(On second thought, I think I swore off internet book challenges, which I have in fact done. Not readalongs. Probably.)

One Response to ““David Copperfield” by Dickens”

  1. hopeinbrazil Says:

    I, too, struggled through the first half of David Copperfield, but felt rewarded with the effort. I really enjoyed it by the end.