Book Review: Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

08 April 2011

Although I have several book reviews that are sitting in my Drafts waiting for their turn to be published, I decided to go ahead and review OT before too long, seeing how I just finished it yesterday. I like to review books as soon as possible after I finish reading them, when the story and my thoughts are still fresh in my mind. Plus, this is a great book, so, as is my nature, I was extremely eager to tell you all about it. :)

Oliver Twist
By Charles Dickens
*Summary taken from the back of the book

Dickens had already achieved renown with The Pickwick Papers. With Oliver Twist, his reputation was enhanced and strengthened. The novel contains many classic Dickensian themes--grinding poverty, desperation, fear, temptation, and the eventual triumpth of good in the face of great adversity.

Oliver Twist features some of the author's most enduring characters, such as Oliver himself (who dared to ask for more), the tyrannical Bumble, the diabolical Fagin, the menacing Bill Sikes, Nancy, and 'the Artful Dodger.'

For any reader wishing to delve into the works of the great Victorian literary colossus, Oliver Twist is, without a doubt, an essential title.

Keep in mind, before you read this book, that this is a tale in which thieves, housebreakers, and... *ahem* not-so-respectable women play a large part. So there is quite some violence and swearing for which to look out. Also, it's extremely sad. If any books make me cry, they are books in which little children are mistreated. The treatment of the orphans and paupers in this book is horrible--I could barely stand reading it.  Some find the combination of these two facts to be enough to keep them from reading the book, but I wouldn't suggest that. It is still an excellent book--a classic, mind you--and one you should read.

Oliver's personality is so precious. Anyone who knows me in person knows that I love little children. I sometimes prefer their company to that of girls and boys my age. When anyone needs someone to hold their baby or watch their toddler, I'm the one who offers--it's just who I am. Oftentimes I've been told that I am extremely "matronly" because of this fact. :) So it's no surprise that I fell in love with Oliver. If any sinner on this earth were capable of being innocent, he would be--to the very letter. Even when he was forced into company with thieves and other bad characters, he didn't let them corrupt his character. Even when Oliver was being forced to rob a house by Bill Sikes, he determined to warn the inhabitants, knowing full well that he could lose his life because of this--that's how determined he is to do what's right. Wondering how that incident turned out? Read the book. :)

Before you head to your local library to check out OT, I should give you fair warning: Charles Dickens does have a habit of being a bit wordy. Being that this book was first published in installments in a magazine, and that Mr. Dickens was paid by the word, he obviously attempted to include as many words in each chapter and description as he possibly could. There are a few parts that you can scan a bit and not really miss any part of the story. I had read the Great Illustrated Classics version years ago, so this helped me to understand the story better. Perhaps the language and detail would be harder if I did not know the story quite so well. You decide. :)

And then there's... Nancy. Out of all the disreputable characters, she is the only one who seems to be regretful of her behavior. My heart breaks when I read about her, for I love her dearly. The way she cares for Oliver as if she was his mother is so sweet. And she wants so badly to change her ways, to be forgiven, redeemed. But she doesn't think that's possible--she feels as if she's fallen too far. Her character contrasts so much with that of Rose Maylie's. I almost don't know who I like better. Rose is so good and kind and sweet, and Nancy isn't, but she wants to be. 

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. 
I recommend this book for ages 12+, because of the difficult language and the sometimes violent scenes. 

When you take a generous old gentleman, a murderous housebreaker, conniving thieves, a kind and motherly housekeeper, a sweet young lady, and a poor orphan boy who only wants a home and a family of his own, what do you have? A wonderful tale that I think each of you should read.


"The persons on whom I have bestowed my dearest love, lie deep in their graves; but, although the happiness and delight of my life lie buried there too, I have not made a coffin of my heart, and sealed it up, forever, on my best affections. Deep affliction has but strengthened and refined them." ~Oliver Twist

Blessings on your day, ladies!

2 epistles:

  1. I really love that book. The characters, the plot - so amazing.

    Wonderful review!

  2. Must be an enjoyable read Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens. loved the way you wrote it. I find your review very genuine and orignal, this book is going in by "to read" list.


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