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Some modern readers might find introduction a tad slow; forewarned, however, they should overcome it, as it is fairly interesting. More seriously, the major subplot (Little Em'ly, Steerforth, and Ham) is resolved too melodramatically in the latter half, which seems out of place with the more natural style of the rest of the novel. This flaw keeps it from being a top-shelf classic, but is in no way destructive to the novel. It is extremely enjoyable.
David Copperfield is a character that I will never forget. How could I? I lived with him for almost 3 months! I will also remember the many other characters, as Dickens ability to bring them to life is his forte.
Perhaps the reason why I couldn't give it a fifth star is the reason why people gave it negative reviews. There may have been times when a little too much description was given which made it drag slightly. It may well be that due to the fact that he wrote in installments and got paid by the page, that the overall novel is sort of overdone. Some parts were a bit hard to trudge through, which meant I wasn't always compelled to read it. I loved the overall story, the many subplots, and the various personalities. One of my favorite characters is his Aunt Betsy. For anyone who thinks the female characters were all the same, I wonder if they skipped the scenes with the Aunt...or Martha for that matter.
I hope that when and if I have fulfilled my insatiable hunger for the pile of books I haven't read, I can read this again and gain a better understanding of it. I am sure I missed a lot.
I wouldn't have appreciated this book when I was in high school, or probably even college. I think it would take a rare young person to have the patience to stick with it, with all the other crazy things that happen at that time of life. I'm glad that I was able to wait until a point in my life where I was ready to read this book and it wasn't shoved down my throat by some professor.
When I was younger, I too, wanted to complain that all of Dickens' heroines were the same, and now I realize how wrong I was. Agnes is good and beautiful and patient of course, but what about the heroine Aunt Betsey? What about Miss Mowcher, who gives David a piece of advice "from three foot nothing ... Don't confuse bodily defect with mental!" she exclaims, and this is advice we coudl still use today! What about Peggotty, who is true and good and occasionally silly? Then there are the women who are not so good: Mrs Heep, Miss Murdstone, Mrs Markleham (the Old Soldier) and Rosa Dartle?
Dickens' characters are marvelous, but what I find most wonderful is the love that brings them together. Aunt Betsey takes David in, and is rewarded by the softening of her own heart; Mr. Peggotty seeks and finds his niece; Traddles finally marries "the dearest girl" and long-suffering Mrs Micawber will never desert her husband and something at last turns up Down Under. The characters who are courageous enough to choose love over pride are almost always rewarded at the end -- assuming that they survive, of course! (I'm thinking of Ham.) Perhaps it is just a novel, and those who have courage to love are not always rewarded in real life, but the idea is wonderfully satisfying.
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The characters are all people you find during your own lifetime: your friends, your aunt, your sweetheart, that woman you love but you can't stand, etc. Copperfield is the story of a good man in his learning through difficulties and setbacks.
No wonder it is still read and probably will stay alive through the decades: Copperfield has something to tell us all.
"David Copperfield" as his "greatest" novel. The strains of autobiography and the rich array of comic and tragicomic characters give the reader the best of Dickens' wit and social outrage. As the years go by, though, people begin to speak of David Copperfield as a "set piece", a bit of Victoriana different in format but not in importance from a very natty
but a bit days-gone-by bit of antique furniture. This view misjudges the novel. This book presents a rich set of characters in a complex novel, deeply satisfying and in many ways still a very modern work. It's very hard to write about "good" and "evil" without descending into morality play, but this novel succeeds. The story is broken into three
"threads": a young boy, orphaned early, endures an unhappy childhood refreshed by periods of happiness (and comedy);
that same boy goes through late adolescence, and comes "into his own"; and finally, the narrator, now a man, sees the resolution of the various plot threads built through the early parts of the novel. Many Dickens themes are played out here--the superiority of goodness to affluence, the persistence and affrontery of fraud, and the way in which social institutions frequently hinder rather than advance their stated goals. The book does not read like a polemic, though--it reads like a bit of serial fiction (which in fact it was).
If you are hunting a good, solid read about values and
curious characters, David Copperfield stands ready to show you his world.
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I am not a huge fan of Kit's Wilderness. However, I did not dislike the book an extreme amount, either. Overall, I thought the plot was slow moving and the climax was not very exciting. At the beginning of the book, the author does not give the reader anything substantial to base John and Kit's link. The reader is just supposed to take the author?s word for it. On the other hand, I really enjoyed the relationship between Kit and Allie. I enjoyed Allie's character in general. Another highlight is that the short chapters and three divisions allow the story to go by quickly.
I would relate this book to October Sky because they are both set in the same kind of town. Overall, Kit's Wilderness was mediocre but had high points.
Kit Watson's family has recently moved to the mining village of Stoneygate, to care for Kit's aging grandfather after the death of his grandmother. Among his friends are the sullen, cryptic John Askew and the bright aspiring actress Allie. Soon Kit becomes enmeshed in the sinister, ritual-like game called "Death," with a spin-the-bottle knife and a jumble of grisly tokens, and sees wizened children huddled in the mines. He dreams of a prehistoric boy who struggles to survive with his baby sister, and Askew lets him see the graves of two boys -- who were called Christopher Watson and John Askew.
Then Kit's grandfather, who tells him of fossils and a little blond ghost, begins to fail; his memory is beginning to go. When John Askew runs away from home, Kit is drawn to learn more about this strange boy who is so fascinated by death. His search for the past, and for John Askew, will draw him down into the dark mines -- where he will find answers about John, the ghosts, Lak the caveboy, and Death.
"Kit's Wilderness" is one of those books that should be read at least twice, because the hauntingly vague subplots that somehow fit together. The subplots (Silky, Grandfather, Allie's acting aspirations, the game of Death, and Lak) don't really seem to have anything to do with each other. But to Almond;'s credit, he manages to weave them all together. It's a bit confusing, and some people may need to flip back to check it out, though.
Kit is the kind of character that Almond does best, a boy who is sensitive and observant, and we get into his head all throughout the book. Allie and John Askew serve as the yin and yang, the light and the dark. Allie's almost unreal brightness serves as a counterpoint to Askew's darkness. That isn't to say that Allie is all good and Askew is bad; they just have different personalities. Most striking is the relationship between Kit and Askew, with Kit unconsciously trying to draw Askew (who has a messed-up family) closer to the light and away from "death," but only by stepping into the mines and onto Askew's level can he pull his friend back home.
Almond's writing is surreal and stark as the mining town, and his dream sequences are like travelling back in time. His dialogue, as usual, is a bit stilted and peculiar-sounding if it's spoken out loud. But it's a beautiful book that will linger in your thoughts long after you finish it.
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