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David Copperfield

by Charles Dickens
729 pages, General Fiction
Reviewed by Grace P

Excellent story, dealing with some adult subject matter.

Plot

David never knew his father, and his mother dies after marrying the cruel Mr. Murdstone, who sends young David to a harsh school far away. But David escapes, and sets off to make something of himself and find true happiness.

Morality

There are multiple excellent messages, including strong themes of loyalty, strength of character, and dedication. Immorality of all kinds is seen and usually results in tragedy, and foolishness is plainly frowned upon. Faithfulness, courage, and selflessness are praised and usually rewarded.

Spiritual Content

Christianity is almost taken for granted. The characters frequently thank God, pray, and speak of Him in everyday conversation. There are strong, though not overt, Christian themes, such as self-sacrifice and selfless love.

Violence

David is beaten at least once. A number of characters die in various circumstances and two characters drown, one of whom may have committed suicide. David slaps another character, under great provocation.

Drug and Alcohol Content

There is occasional wine or beer drinking, but it is not excessive.

Sexual Content

One character is involved with another outside of marriage, and disgrace is the result. Another, minor character is inferred to be a prostitute. One married woman is falsely suspected of being involved with a man other than her husband. All of these cases are treated with such delicacy and discreetness, that it's not even entirely sure exactly what happened.

Crude or Profane Language or Content

There are occasional uses of phrases such as "Good God!" or "God rest my soul!" Other than that, none.

Conclusion

Dickens’ favorite of all his books, this semi-autobiographical story combines elements from his own life with those which are purely imaginary in a delightful way. David is a lovable, relatable hero, and one feels after reading it that one has truly gotten to know each and every character as a friend -- or an enemy.

Though tinted with his typical use of the macabre, and often dealing with tragic happenings, it is whimsical, engrossing, and full of true-to-life yet caricatured characters. Dickens’ characteristic surprising intertwining of plot and characters is at its best in this novel.

Fun Score: 5
Values Score: 4.5
Written for Age: adult

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