This month, we are excited to have a book choice from Dame Penelope Wilton, who we have admired on stage and screen in everything from Downton Abbey to Doctor Who, and most recently in After Life. She kindly recommends the following, her “book that meant a great deal to me”…
I first read this book when I was away from home for three months working in Africa. I was at times very lonely. But as luck would have it had thrown into my case at the very last minute a paperback copy of David Copperfield. I had hesitated in taking it as it is quite long and I thought might just tip my case over the weight allowed for the flight.
Thank goodness I did, because after a while I was rationing the number of pages I could read in a day, I didn’t want to finish too soon. I had immersed myself in David’s world and his journey from childhood to maturity as a young successful man.
Along the way we meet some extraordinary people. Early in the book David is forcibly taken from his Mother by a cruel step father, made to work in a bottle making factory, escapes and finds an old spinster Aunt who takes him in, and so his luck starts to change.
But the book is filled with a multitude of characters, some very eccentric, some plain evil, some kindness itself and some victims to circumstance. But all with their own very personal view of the world.
There are chapters early on when the cruelty administered to a young child are almost unbearable. But as soon as David escapes, passages of high adventure, friendships are forged, and moments of high farce.
The chapter when David arrives in Dover and finds his Aunt’s house, is taken in and meets Mr Dick for the first time is one on my favourites.
Now we are back in lockdown, I’m taking it up again, it will be my companion in the long evenings to come.
We are grateful for this heartfelt choice, perfect for the long winter evenings.
Read our previous Book of the Month choices here.