"He was a very great novelist. He had enormous gifts. He thought DAVID COPPERFIELD the best of all his books. An author is not always a good judge of his own work, but in this case Dickens's judgement seems to me correct. DAVID COPPERFIELD, as I suppose everyone knows, is in great part autobiographical; but Dickens was writing a novel, not an autobiography, and though he drew much of his material from his own life, he made only such use of it as suited his purpose. For the rest, he fell back on his vivid imagination."
W. Somerset Maugham, Ten Novels and Their Authors.