This book follows so many parallel tales and goes off at so many tangents that at times I found myself struggling to keep my interest going. It meanders too much. HOWEVER, when Dickens sticks to his main character, the story is as absorbing as ever and, needless to say, Dickens remains one of my favourite classics writers. Characters are developed fully, we feel drawn in by their vicissitudes, we learn to love the lovable characters and hate the villains passionately. If I were to rank the novels I have read by this great writer, they would be in this order:
- GREAT EXPECTATIONS 5 STARS
- OLIVER TWIST 5 STARS
- DAVID COPPERFIELD 4 STARS
This tale centres on a young boy who grows up in a home where he is showered with love, loses his father very early, and remains with his mother and baby-sitter until strife enters their family circle. His mother remarries—a most unfavourable, strict, and cruel man who is supported by an equally detestable sister. David’s mother dies of grief, and David is very much left to fend for himself. Fortunately, David decides to run away from home and seeks the aid of his strict (but, as it turns out, lovable) aunt. Dickens travels the reader around the districts of London and then finally has his protagonist earning fame as a successful writer. As with previous novels by Dickens, this one has a few chapters devoted to the main character being schooled at a strict Boys’ School.
David meets love in the face of a child-like woman named Dora. They live well enough for a few years until the fragile wife dies. The novel meanders between the story of David and the trials and tribulations of his closest friends. Eventually, all wrongs are set to right, the villain is placed in jail, and David finally realises that his childhood sweetheart, his ‘sister’ Agnes, is the love of his life and he marries her.
Had Dickens concentrated solely on David and Agnes’s story, and had he made this novel at least 100 pages shorter, this novel would certainly have received my 5 star rating like his other two novels I have read. Even so, at times, it was a delightful and satisfying read.