David Copperfield – Shallow Review #3

Here are #1 and #2 if anyone wants to catch up.

After the death of his mother, David’s at home with the evil stepfather Mr Murdstone, and his evil sister Miss Murdstone. Mr Murdstone, possibly aware he is a stepfather in a work of fiction, feelss his only option is to become even more super-nasty. David would like to go back to school, but they decide to steal his inheritance and make him work instead.

They send him off to live with the Micawbers, nice but skint folk, and David is forced to work in a rough factory. He very quickly learns what it is to try and feed yourself on a pittance, and watches the Micawbers pawn everything they own, until they end up in a debtor’s prison.

After this, David decides do a runner, and go and see Betsey Trotwood, a woman he has never properly met and only heard alarming things about, but hey, things can’t get any worse. He has to walk all the way, after losing his possessions and money to a dodgy carriage-driving geezer, (because it’s Laahndon, innit.) During the altercation he hides his money in his mouth (OMG you don’t know where it’s been!) but it pops out with all the fuss and and is stolen by the geezer (OMG you DO know where it’s been!) he has nothing. Nothing but the clothes on his back, and even they don’t last long, as  a wife-beating alcoholic tried to demand his handkerchief with menaces. Other items he chooses to sell, firstly his coat, then en route he his waistcoat to a shopkeeper who pays him in hourly increments while wailing ‘Oh my bones, my liver, my kidneys’ etc, etc. I suppose we should be grateful he didn’t have anything wrong with his duodenum, epididymis or Islets of Langerhans. ‘Oh my esophageal sphincter!’

David finally gets to Dover, people get a bit nicer, and soon he bumps into Betsey’s maid and follows her home. He looks a proper filthy urchin at this point, and it takes a while to explain who he is to Betsey and her BFF Mr Dick, but eventually they give him a bath and something to eat. There’s a good deal about donkeys at this point, as Betsey has a green out the front that donkey rides like to traverse, causing her to run out the house yelling, akin to my mother’s behaviour when she saw the neighbour’s cat near the fish pond.

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Betsy says she needs to speak to Mr Turdstone about David’s future, and him and that cow of a sister of his turn up and talk crap about David, and Betsy is all calm and breaks out a batch of cutting comebacks, making the reader cheer and shout ‘Oooh, burn! In yo’ FACE Murdstone!’ and ‘Take that, biatch!’ at the book. Betsy for PM! (I’m not kidding, I’d seriously like Betsy, or even a donkey, for PM right now).

After this meeting, Betsey decides to adopt David, and gets him his own clothes, after days of just wearing Mr Dick’s huge cast-offs. Betsey writes David’s new name, which incorporates hers, into each item, even thought we all know those embroidered name tapes are far superior, but never mind, she’s new to this raising children lark.

David is sent off to school again, after meeting with Betsey’s solicitor and his clerk (a 70s prog-rock band with bad facial hair and a fondness for Lord of the Rings,) Uriah Heep. However, David has been through some serious crap on a cracker, and like mature students who look upon their classmates as fountain-bubblebath-bombing children with no idea what the world is like, David can’t connect with those around him. He doesn’t know how to play, he has missed out on studies, and his specialist subject is pawn shops and debtor’s prisons. Still, things are looking up.

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