Once upon a time, as a child, I read "OliverTwist" in an issue of Classic Comics. Once upon a time, as a student, I worked through a reading list of paperback Dickens novels that, for whatever reason, did not include "Oliver Twist." When I returned to this early Dickens novel, I read it on a Kindle. I am sorry it took me so long to get from the comic book to the real thing.
The plot of "Oliver Twist is well known, so let me mention some other things that a grown up reader might enjoy. For one thing, the novel is an angry commentary on how a society treats its poor. The baby farms for orphans, the workhouses, and the apprentice situations have not lost their power to shock. The scene where Oliver dares to ask for more gruel is rightly famous, but there are many scenes that detail the routine near starvation of those dependent on "porochial" generosity. Along with these scenes go the overseers: the beadle, Mr. Bumble, and his estimable wife, both of whom are regularly depicted eating and drinking their fill. The fact that they are one step removed from poverty only increases their contempt for those beneath them.
The London in which Oliver eventually finds himself is equally vivid, drawn from those dank nooks and corners Dickens observed as a young man as he went about his work as a reporter. He also knew well Newgate Prison, where Fagin spends his final days; Dickens had already written about it in an earlier sketch.
Another aspect of the novel that is gripping is the way Dickens depicts abusive relationships between men and the women who are love them. The relationship of Bill Sikes and Nancy is the most famous, but it is paralleled by the connection between the snitch Noah Claypole and his subservient Charlotte (both of whom torment Oliver when he is apprenticed at Sowerberry the coffin-maker's). Dickens humorously reverses this dynamic when he depicts Mrs. Bumble ruling over the craven Mr. Bumble, but we understand that this is the exception, rather than the rule. Oliver's existence is, to some extent, the result of the unequal relationship between his father and his mother.
The character of the diabolical Fagin induces an unease in a modern reader that Dickens's readers mostly did not feel. He is almost always called "the Jew" and is, in accordance with the stereotype, preoccupied with money. One of Dickens's biographers, Michael Slater, gives an account of a Jewish reader who wrote to Dickens to object to this.
Don't miss this novel. The progress of the little parish boy, Oliver Twist, suggests that a society is only as admirable as its compassion for the least among it.
Cons: L-O-N-G. As another reviewer stated, if Dickens can say it in 10 words, he'll go with 50.
Pros: Strong character development, suspenseful story, interesting social commentary, the Oxford World Classic edition offers a bunch of educational commentary - so, I read it and learned about the laws Dickens didn't care for, the relationship between himself and the illustrator, etc.
As an accountant, if something isn't able to hold my interest, I'll put it down and try something else. With Dickens, I can truly say that my interest was completely held!
OliverTwist is the best novel by Dickens.Out of all the very enjoyable books by Dickens, I think Oliver Twist just has that certain wow factor that keeps the reader hooked from page one.This novel, along with The Christmas Carol, are great read alouds that both adults and children can enjoy.I've read this book at least a dozen times, but Oliver Twist seems to get better with time.
I have never read this before and only knew the story by watching the musical or TV mini series. I was dismayed while reading "Oliver" to realise how much of it was changed and adapted. I loved reading the original and found Charles Dickens style easy to read and very entertaining.