Make way for one of the greatest stories of all time, the epic tale of David Copperfield. This is a novel of massive proportions that I love to dig out every year (just about Christmas time) and a novel with a massive unofficial title – “The Personal History, Adventures, Experience and Observation of David Copperfield the Younger of Blunderstone Rookery”.
What is so great about this book are the characters, like Macawber, Uriah Heap, Peggotty and Steerforth and, oh, there are so many more, and the ups and downs of life. Charles Dickens has you laughing one minute and crying the next! If David Copperfield were a game of Snakes and Ladders, you would need a few extra ladders!
The story begins in a Norfolk farmhouse with the birth of David six months after his father’s death. Several years later his mother remarries a firm disciplinarian type of character who following a skirmish with David sends him away to a boarding school, Salem House. Here David meets Steerforth, a future friend and the cruel, insidious headmaster, Mr Creakle.
This is not a happy tale so far for the young lad and things get worse before they get better. It’s not all fun and games at the boarding school but nothing prepares him for the event of his mother’s and her newborn baby’s death. He returns home for the funeral and is immediately and heartlessly sent off to slave away in a workhouse owned by David’s miserable stepfather.
Whilst at the workhouse David becomes acquainted with the brilliant legendary Dickens character of delightful Macawber who becomes his landlord. Being the kind and giving person that he is, he becomes a guardian to David and takes him under his wing… until fate has other ideas in mind for the orphan when Macawber is imprisoned for debt. David has enough at this point and left to fend for himself, decides to run away to Dover to live with his mad Aunt Betsey Trotwood. And so the fantastic story unfolds as David matures into a gentleman and looks for love and a happy ending.
Some say the story of David Copperfield is autobiographical as we learn more and more of the book’s creator. But one thing we can say is that along with Oliver Twist, Great Expectations and A Christmas Carol, our christmasses would never have been the same without those memorable characters of Ebeneezer Scrooge, Oliver Twist, Fagin and of course David Copperfield. I’m sure the nineteenth century author would have been chuffed to pieces had he known how his books and the colourful characters within them continue to delight and entertain us way into the 21st century! My advice to anyone and everyone is, read them all!