Still, I found the beginning of David Copperfield to be slow-going and even painful. (One of my siblings was often mistreated for her handicaps so I have a very low tolerance for meanness. And the first chapters of DC pay homage to some of the meanest people I've ever encountered in literature.) If it hadn't been for Sherry at Semicolon who told me this was one of her favorite Dicken's titles, I'm not sure I would have persevered.
Thirteen was a lucky number in this case since that's the chapter when things began to turn around for our suffering hero. Dastardly characters continue to come on the scene, but they are counterbalanced by virtuous and loving people. By the middle of the book there was an impending sense of doom that kept me reading, but I still wasn't sure I loved it. Later, however, I suddenly realized that Dickens had cast me under his spell. My misgivings about the heavy dose of villainy were dissipated by the irresistible charm of Dr. Strong's faithful love, Micawber's loquacious letters, Traddles amazing hair, and Mr. Dick's simple kind-heartedness. (Not to mention the "iron true" Mr. Peggoty, noble Ham, and Copperfield's guardian angels in the form of Miss Trotwood and Agnes Wickfield.) Without any effort I had learned to love these characters with all my heart.
And, of course, the writing is splendid. Describing Miss Murdstone's luggage, we understand her perfectly: She brought with her two uncompromising hard black boxes, with her initials on the lids in hard brass nails. When she paid the coachman she took her money out of hard steel purse, and she kept the purse in a very jail of a bag which hung upon her arm by a heavy chain, and shut up like a bite. I had never, at that time, seen such a metallic lady altogether as Miss Murdstone was. (p. 58)
This book, with its host of unforgettable characters, highlights the many kinds of love: shallow, filial, and romantic, but especially the deep, self-sacrificing kind. Like other chunksters I've read (Count of Monte Cristo and Middlemarch), this took almost a month to get through, but it was worth the effort.