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Explore this Demon Copperhead review to learn what’s so special about the Pulitzer Prize-winning, Oprah’s Book Club selection by Barbara Kingsolver that gave a very memorable identity to the plight of many Americans in Appalachia.

person holding demon copperhead by barbara kingsolver in front of bookshelves

Quick Demon Copperhead Review Takeaways

Demon Copperhead: A Novel
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Kingsolver, Barbara (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 556 Pages – 10/18/2022 (Publication Date) – Harper (Publisher)

Top-notch character development makes this novel one of the best books I ever read.

Demon Copperhead Accolades

  • Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction
  • Winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction
  • A New York Times “Ten Best Books of 2022”
  • Instant New York Times Bestseller and one of its best books of the 21st century
  • Instant Wall Street Journal Bestseller 
  • #1 Washington Post Bestseller
  • Oprah’s Book Club pick

Demon Copperhead Trigger Warnings

The most prominent Demon Copperhead content warnings include drug addiction, abuse (physical, emotional, verbal), poverty, the foster care system, the opioid epidemic, death, sexual abuse, and violence.


Full Demon Copperhead Book Review

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, from the very extraordinary first sentence of Demon Copperhead, from those first five words, you just KNOW something remarkable is about to follow throughout the forthcoming hundreds of pages:

“First, I got myself born.”

Indeed, what follows is an epic character-driven story “for the ages” that only Kingsolver could tell. Why? Because she’s inexplicably tied to Appalachia.

Kingsolver’s personal ties to the area and its people also allow her to transcend stereotypes and, rather, powerfully convey how she (and they feel). She is outrageously angry. She is fiercely loyal. It all comes through in the character of Demon Copperhead, a boy representative of a people forgotten, discarded, and betrayed.

Speaking of characters, Demon Copperhead is one of the most memorable I’ve read. I’m convinced that if the name “Barbara Kingsolver” wasn’t written on the cover, most readers would think it’s a memoir.

(By the way, make sure you take a close look at the book cover — it’s a tapestry of illustrations bearing greater meaning in weaving Demon’s story.)

In conveying the unique personality of a character in literature, voice is so important, and Demon’s is exceptionally distinct. He’s had a rough start and a rough everything that comes after that, and it’s through his cynical, yet endearing and “wise beyond his years” voice that Kingsolver balances the realities of his situations with a sense of hope for Demon.

As far as themes go, the theme of art being created by Demon from the depths of darkness is one that always feels meaningful to me. The theme of water simply cannot be ignored as a force that kills several in Demon’s life, yet offers him a chance to overpower it and be reborn into a better life by it.


While Demon Copperhead was, without a doubt, a five-star read for me, it was admittedly also a slow character-driven read for me. It took me about three weeks to read, and I heard other readers describe the experience the same way.

Make no mistake, it was not by any means a “slog” or even a slow burn — it’s just the type of novel I needed to read slowly, in small doses, and savor and reflect on it. I say this so that, if you feel stuck or behind, you are inspired to keep going at your own pace.

At the end of that day, this is one book that will stick with you long afterward.

Demon Copperhead is a transcendent novel of many important things, including social justice, redemption, and finding one’s self. It’s the kind of interesting book that reminds me I can’t just pick up “fiction writing” as a hobby or even a career goal and expect it to have any significance in the world. It’s one of the rare books that truly earns the description: “tour de force.”

Frequently Asked Questions

Will Demon Copperhead be a movie?

No. To date, no movie deals for Demon Copperhead have been announced.

Is Demon Copperhead difficult to read?

Demon Copperhead is accessible to most readers, though some may find its potentially triggering themes and regional dialects challenging. Regardless, its engaging storytelling and relatable characters make it a compelling read.

Why is Demon Copperhead so popular?

Demon Copperhead is popular for its captivating storytelling, relatable characters, and modern twist on a classic narrative. Barbara Kingsolver’s masterful writing about relevant social issues resonates deeply with readers.

What is the message of Demon Copperhead?

Demon Copperhead conveys a powerful message about resilience and survival in the face of adversity. It shows the struggles of impoverished communities and emphasizes the importance of compassion, self-discovery, and the enduring nature of the human spirit.

Is Demon Copperhead a retelling of David Copperfield?

Yes. Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver is a fictional story inspired by Charles Dickens’s David Copperfield. It reimagines the classic tale, setting it in contemporary Appalachia and addressing current social issues.


As this Demon Copperhead review comes to an end, suffice it to say, Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver is a once-in-a-lifetime type of novel that will resonate with readers for years to come.

The Verdict: Demon Copperhead is worth reading if you enjoy literary fiction, modern retellings of classic stories, complex characters, and/or themes of social issues.

If you read it with your book club, be sure to check out these discussion questions for Demon Copperhead.

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One Comment

  1. I, also, read it, can’t stop thinking about it. It’s moved into me. That’s how well it’s written.