January – Charles Dickens Month: Dud from Dickens

7th February 2012 is the 200th birthday of Charles Dickens. To mark the occasion Amanda at Fig and Thistle is hosting January – Charles Dickens Month. As Charles Dickens is one of my favourite authors, I couldn’t resist plunging into it.

Today’s post is about the only Dickens book I didn’t enjoy, in other words a Dud from Dicken.

I just simply didn’t like David Copperfield. Sure it is STILL Dickens but this is by far my least favourite of his books.

The narrative, though sparkling during Copperfield’s childhood, becomes dry and dreary once he reaches adulthood.

Among the other characters Dora Spenlow has got to be one of the most annoying literary characters ever to exist! The way she pouts and shakes those curls of hers! I could just gag! Is this meant to be cute, innocent? All I know is that every time she opens her mouth I feel like hitting myself!

Uriah Heep is a nasty character to be sure. But did he have to be so revolting looking? I felt that too much time is spent discussing his repellent looks than discussing his villainous nature.

At the other end of the spectrum we have Steerforth. In my opinion he’s as bad as Uriah. He’s heartless and selfish but he’s excused for his bad behaviour. His good looks and charming manners are mentioned many, many times in the course of the narrative. Of course he’s not to be totally blamed for what happened and he does pay dearly in the end but to me his self-serving and careless attitude is hardly forgivable. Copperfield’s unhealthy obsession with Steerforth is one of the more disturbing aspects of the story.

Overall, I was disappointed with David Copperfield. A long book with little payoff.



  1. I read David Copperfield in high school. I enjoyed it, but then again I was 16. I can’t stand it when authors OVER emphasize physicality (for example, in War and Peace Tolstoy yammers on and on about one female character’s “downy lip.” Luckily she croaks early on so I didn’t have to continue picturing a mustached lady every three seconds!

    1. “I can’t stand it when authors OVER emphasize physicality…”

      Neither can I. Describing a person’s appearance is one thing but harping on his/her beauty/ugliness just gets on my nerve.

  2. I agree. David Copperfield, A Tale of Two Cities and Hard Times are my (thus far) least favorite novels. But the first two are also considered favourites by many others…so to each his own! And any book by Dickens is worth reading at least once, I think. My favorites are Little Dorrit, Bleak House, Martin Chuzzlewit and Great Expectations.

    And yes, Dora is a complete ditz. And honestly, Agnes is a cipher. But I really loved the Micawbers and Aunt Betsy, etc.

    1. The general consensus seems to be that David Copperfield is one of the, if not the, best among Dickens’s works. So, there is a very great chance that you’ll be enjoying it too, even though I didn’t. 🙂

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