Book Review: Oliver Twist

I have a soft spot in my heart for Dickens. Not for any good reason – no, no, it’s because I was Ebenezer Scrooge in our 4th-grade rendition of A Christmas Carol.

Most of the time, I find Dickens quite dull and to follow a very prescribed formula. Somehow I always forget it, then I pick up another of his books expecting something different. This time, I won’t be fooled: I’ll go in expecting a story of historical and cultural importance, but also something that will bore me out of my skull.

The Book

Oliver Tiwst
Author: Charles Dickens
Project Gutenberg Link

You can get this from Gutenberg with ease. If you’d rather not the illustrated version, they have another edition without the pictures available. I listened to this on audiobook because I learned my lesson when dragging through A Tale of Two Cities.

Non-Spoiler Review

Upon starting this book, I made the stunning realization that I’d experienced this story before. A Disney movie that came out before I was born, Oliver and Company, was essentially the same story as this. Of course there were differences, especially in the character and quality of Fagin and his crew, but the overall plot had a lot of similarities. The more I read, the more I realized that I already knew a lot of Oliver Twist. I think this helped keep me engaged, because I knew something better was coming.

Because the middle third or so was dullllll. Right up from when Sikes is first introduced up through when the Dodger got into trouble I just had the hardest time paying attention. All the story about the adults had all the excitement of dishwater. The exposition was great because it introduced Oliver, his world, the political message, and got you drawn in. The book picked up again, though, right at that typical Dickensian moment that you don’t think you can go any longer. At that moment where publishers brandished the whip and said, “FINISH IT OR WE CUT OFF YOUR FUNDS.”

And so the ending picked up while on its way to the inevitable conclusion. The book did wrap up nicely. I also liked the political insight into Victorian politics, economics, and changing class structures. The baby farms, themselves, were interesting. I think reading this would have helped me understand what was going on at the farms in Through the Nethergate. The historicity of the book was really what made me think this book was rather legit.

3/5 Discoball Snowcones

3 Discoball Snowcones

Next week:

Time for a history book because I haven’t done them enough recently! Malone’s Jefferson and His Time: Book 1 is up for grabs!


2 thoughts on “Book Review: Oliver Twist

  1. robertawrites235681907 says:

    HI H. I am rather fond of Dickens. Not all his books but I do love Great Expectations, A Christmas Carol and Oliver Twist. I made poor Gregory read children’s editions when he was 9 years old. Thanks for the cross reference to Though the Nethergate and I’ve learned a lesson, never assume people know about things like baby farms. I thought they would be fairly common knowledge.

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