In one of his most energetic and enjoyable novels, Dickens tells the life story of David Copperfield, from his birth in Suffolk, through the various struggles of his childhood, to his successful career as a novelist. The early scenes are particularly masterful, depicting the world as seen from the perspective of a fatherless small boy, whose idyllic life with his mother is ruined when his mother marries again, this time to a domineering and cruel man. The novel is partly modelled on Dickens’s own experiences, but that is not to say that it is in any way a direct autobiography. Indeed, one of the great joys of the book lies in its outlandish cast of characters, which includes the glamorous Steerforth, the cheerful, verbose Mr Micawber, the villainous Uriah Heep, and David’s eccentric aunt, Betsey Trotwood. Dickens described it as his ‘favourite child’ among his novels and it is easy to see why.