Oliver Twist follows the story of young Oliver from the orphanage to a den of thieves to a wealthy London man, and back to the thieves. Charles Dickens hones in on themes of childhood innocence and upturns the underground London life in an almost soap-operay account of Oliver’s life.
I read Oliver Twist because I wanted to read something by Dickens with a little more substance than A Christmas Carol. I thought it’d be a good precursor to A Tale of Two Cities, which I plan to read (eventually). I don’t know how sound an idea this was because this book is actually longer than Two Cities. Oh, well.
So I put on my big-girl pants and got to reading. One tiny word-filled page at a time. And I kept at it. Day after day after day…
Needless to say, I wasn’t too thrilled with the book as a whole. I dragged my feet through the entire thing and held my eyes open on long nights when I gave myself a set amount of pages to read.
It wasn’t bad, per say. But I just didn’t get into the story, and since I couldn’t get into the story, I had a hard time getting past the difficult writing style. For example, Emma had a classic feel and hard style, but I enjoyed the story. Oliver’s tale just ended up being too long and ultimately a little boring. Sorry, Dickens!
And let’s face it, when the one cultural reference to this book– Please sir, I want some more.– is found within the first 20 pages, it’s obvious the rest of the book is going downhill.
I didn’t hate it completely. I know that he got paid by the word and released his chapters one by one, and I found it refreshingly hilarious the titles of all the chapters. Seriously, the chapter titles are complete summaries of the events that happen. Wonderfully helpful, if you ask me.
I thought the characters were all interesting, if a little confusing. I especially loved Oliver’s chapters, and I tended to be more invested and read faster. I wish Dickens focused more on Oliver and less on the thieves and other (more confusing and) less interesting characters.
There isn’t much to say about the novel. It’s a classic; it’s by Dickens. It’s confusing. There are high points and low points, the characters are a bit confusing but likeable overall. Otherwise, if you like classics, take a crack at it. I’m not sorry I read it, but I did trudge a bit.