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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Prince and a Pauper
Dickens' famous story of a young orphan's struggle to survive on the streets of London is rightly one of his most remembered.

Two outstanding characters have been contributed to literature - Fagin and Jack Dawkins the Artful Dodger.

Dickens writes Fagin as a puppet master, controlling the orphaned children as pickpockets and the adults like Bill...
Published on 7 May 2012 by Sam Quixote

versus
1.0 out of 5 stars fine for the first chapter or so then becomes predictable ...
Disappointing. It is all very overblown, fine for the first chapter or so then becomes predictable and stereotypical. I read the first quarter of the book and then realized I was reading out of respect for a famous author. I won't finish it.
Published 25 days ago by P O


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Prince and a Pauper, 7 May 2012
By 
Sam Quixote - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Oliver Twist (Penguin English Library) (Paperback)
Dickens' famous story of a young orphan's struggle to survive on the streets of London is rightly one of his most remembered.

Two outstanding characters have been contributed to literature - Fagin and Jack Dawkins the Artful Dodger.

Dickens writes Fagin as a puppet master, controlling the orphaned children as pickpockets and the adults like Bill Sikes as thieves. His subterfuge of a penniless pauper with a kindly approach are at odds with the moments he steals gazing at his hidden stash of jewels and his barking moments of brutality. Though his name is Fagin, Dickens refers to him more often than not as "the Jew", a label quite jarring in today's culture. Fagin is sinister though and many see him as a devil like character. His many schemes, plans, and selfishness all contribute to the image.

The Artful Dodger is a whirling dervish of charisma and charm, teaching Oliver the tricks of the trade and leading the cohorts of youngsters as the ultimate example they should all be aspiring to. Dickens chooses to have the Dodger answer for his crimes as he is finally caught and sent to jail. Tantalisingly, Dickens implies that the Dodger will be deported to Australia though we never see Dodger again after he is led away back to jail. Maybe he was thinking of writing a sequel with him as a grown up character?

Oliver is by no means a great character but a likeable one. His tribulations put us on his side early on and his base survival has us enthralled and rooting for him throughout. Bill Sikes isn't also that great a character. A one dimensional thug and bully, his character is indeed menacing and ugly but unfortunately never goes further.

Nancy meanwhile is another triumph of characterisation. Dickens shows her kind side, her deceitful side, her desperate life, and ultimately her sacrifice. She longs to stay with her boyfriend Bill Sikes despite his brutality and maintains a cheerful and optimistic disposition throughout the miserable drama. Her life and desires are complex and is one of Dickens' most enduring creations.

The overall story of Oliver Twist, of his rise to grace through typically fantastical and novelistic conceits, are but a sideline to the true nature of the book - Dickens' concern and portrayal of society's inhuman treatment of the poor. The book remains important and memorable for this reason. This is probably one of Dickens' most accessible books, a great book and a true classic.

This particular edition has a rubber-like finish to the covers giving you a strong grip on the book as you read while also eliminating any finger marks. It's an interesting cover material that's different and quite pleasing to handle.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Please sir can i have some more, 31 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Oliver Twist (Penguin English Library) (Paperback)
A great book written by a great author . You think you know it after seeing the film but if you enjoyed the film you must read the book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good Amazon service, 21 Oct 2013
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Re-reading some classics and this was a few clicks away. Penguin is a well respected publisher and this is genuine and as described. The service from Amazon was good, as usual for books.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Early Promise, 12 April 2013
This review is from: Oliver Twist (Penguin English Library) (Paperback)
There's a lot wrong here - poor structure (Oliver rescued twice by decent coves while committing crimes); implausible plotting (I won't spoil the story for new readers); a labyrinthine ending unjustified in narrative terms by anything that goes before (who is who?); virulent anti-Semitism (Fagin); and sentimentality by the truckload (get your hanky ready for the last chapter). Being charitable, all this is excusable from such a young and inexperienced author. But what you DO get for your money, of course, is unrivalled insight into the murkier side of London (CD, as a Portsmouth lad, could see what the capital's about with the sharp eyes of a provincial incomer), and Sikes, Artful, Nancy, Bates, and the boys are as authentic as they come, as are the grimy locations. So too is the book's most successful creation, and not part of the London sequences, the awesomely awful Mr Bumble, who gets his comeuppance by marrying for money. All the themes, narrative devices, superb passages of descriptive writing and vivid characters are here in raw form, to be handled increasingly confidently in each succeeding novel until the heights of Bleak House, Little Dorrit, David Copperfield, Great Expectations and the masterly Our Mutual Friend are attained. To sum up, this is a flawed, though still brilliant, tale from the greatest English storyteller who ever lived and is better than any film or TV series made of it.
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1.0 out of 5 stars fine for the first chapter or so then becomes predictable ..., 1 Dec 2014
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This review is from: Oliver Twist (Penguin English Library) (Paperback)
Disappointing. It is all very overblown, fine for the first chapter or so then becomes predictable and stereotypical. I read the first quarter of the book and then realized I was reading out of respect for a famous author. I won't finish it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 21 Aug 2014
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This review is from: Oliver Twist (Penguin English Library) (Paperback)
great read
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 16 Aug 2014
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This review is from: Oliver Twist (Penguin English Library) (Paperback)
thank you
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Oliver Twist (Penguin English Library)
Oliver Twist (Penguin English Library) by Charles Dickens (Paperback - 26 April 2012)
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