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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Dickens' best
Having read quite a lot of Dickens novels, I came quite late to Oliver Twist. I had read a children's version of it and since I knew the story, I thought I might not find it very interesting. How wrong I was!. The first chapters, although they are a very good critic of the poor workhouse conditions, were a bit dragging. But once Oliver goes to London and meets Fagin's...
Published on 24 Jun. 2004 by Ganime B. Akin

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A little disappointing
At time of writing, I've read Great Expectations, Tale of Two Cities and Pickwick Papers. Oliver Twist,although one of the best-known and most popularised of Dickens' novels, is, in my opinion, not as good.

Some well-drawn characters, but Rose is unbelievably saintly (especially as described by Harry in his besotted proposal!). As others have said here, some...
Published on 19 Feb. 2013 by D. Took


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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Dickens' best, 24 Jun. 2004
By 
Ganime B. Akin (Istanbul, Turkey) - See all my reviews
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Having read quite a lot of Dickens novels, I came quite late to Oliver Twist. I had read a children's version of it and since I knew the story, I thought I might not find it very interesting. How wrong I was!. The first chapters, although they are a very good critic of the poor workhouse conditions, were a bit dragging. But once Oliver goes to London and meets Fagin's gang, it was a pleasure to read. As in most of Dickens' works, the villains are the ones who make the story interesting. The dingy places that they live, the squalor and filth is so well described as the evil turn of their minds that the "good" people in the story, including Oliver, are quite dull compared to them. It seems Oliver is just an accessory that the plot evolves around but the bad people are the ones that draw us into it. Especially the murder, the haunting conscience and the death at the end are one of the best that I have ever read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Prince and a Pauper, 23 Feb. 2010
By 
Sam Quixote - See all my reviews
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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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic Book, 14 Mar. 2014
By 
SBno1 - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Oliver Twist (Kindle Edition)
This review is for the Kindle version - Amazon tend to merge all formats into 1 review set.

I have made it my ambition to read some of the most famous classic books to broaden my horizons or at least to see what all the fuss is about.

The story of Oliver twist is well known; an impressionable and naïve orphaned kid is taken under the wing by a career criminal who has a gang of kids running his pickpocket racket in return for food and shelter.

I am still fairly new to reading classic books and I do find it a bit difficult to get my head around the style of writing. Oliver Twist was no different. whilst the story was keeping my attention, I did find that it was a drag to read at times.

The Kindle version is free and so you have nothing to lose by giving it a try. the formatting seemed to be fine, with a few sentences split into paragraphs. The version I had was clearly from a optical character recognition sweep as there were a few spelling mistakes where punctuation marks had been added in place of letters. That being said, I could clearly see what the word was supposed to read, so it didn't take away the meaning of a sentence.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A little disappointing, 19 Feb. 2013
By 
D. Took "Debbie Took" (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Oliver Twist (Kindle Edition)
At time of writing, I've read Great Expectations, Tale of Two Cities and Pickwick Papers. Oliver Twist,although one of the best-known and most popularised of Dickens' novels, is, in my opinion, not as good.

Some well-drawn characters, but Rose is unbelievably saintly (especially as described by Harry in his besotted proposal!). As others have said here, some 'amazing coincidences' make the plot seem implausible, annoying me a little, and I started to lose track a little towards the end when Dickens uses the meeting of Mr Brownlow with Monks to 'explain' to us past events.

So, with just a few pages to go, I've found the novel a little disappointing! But interesting to see how very different the novel is from 'Oliver!' and the like... Have ordered Alan Bleasdale's 'Oliver Twist' for enrichment!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Darker than the film, 19 Feb. 2014
By 
Lorna Vince - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Oliver Twist (Kindle Edition)
I am working my way through Dickens - have seen the film but am glad I read the book too although it's not easy reading - the descriptions of characters and scenes are much bleaker than in the film.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Charles Dickens – Oliver Twist | Review, 5 April 2014
By 
This review is from: Oliver Twist (Wordsworth Classics) (Paperback)
Dickens is one of the greats, and plenty of people won’t say a word against him – I’ve read a few of his novels and I’d beg to disagree. His work often falls wide of the mark and it doesn’t always age well, but Oliver Twist is a great example of Dickens at his finest, a writer who managed to capture the essence of the Victorian age in which he lived in like no other.

I won’t bother going in to detail about the plot, because it’s one of the most famous stories ever told and you should already be familiar with what happens, but I’ll avoid spoilers just in case – suffice to say that most of the adaptations that I’ve seen fail to do Dickens justice, because it’s too difficult to capture all of the intricacies of his writing in a stage play, a film or a TV series.

In fact, if you’ve enjoyed the musical or some similar adaptation then I strongly encourage you to read the novel if you haven’t already, just to see where it started – sure, Dickens’ writing is heavy going and it’s easier to read it in small chunks than in a couple of long sittings, but it’s like that with all of the greats. It took me nearly two years to finish The Lord of the Rings trilogy because Tolkien has the same problem, if you can call it that – both authors are lovers of language, and so their work can be daunting to the casual reader.

Reading Oliver Twist is like experiencing high definition video when you’re used to watching things on an iPhone – characters like Bill Sykes take on new dimensions and become even more realistic, while Jack Dawkins, better-known as the Artful Dodger, seems almost tragic. He’s certainly a much darker character in the novel than the happy-go-lucky pickpocket that we’re used to from popular culture.

Oliver Twist was Dickens’ second novel, but it reads like one of his more accomplished works – some of his other novels are tedious, time-consuming and unenjoyable to read, but Oliver Twist is a genuine pleasure and a lot of fun for a serious reader. If you’re a more casual reader, though, then you’re probably better off looking at a truncated version – you’ll be missing out, but you’ll be able to power through it a lot faster. It’s better to read a shortened version than to never get to the end of it.

The ending will leave you feeling satisfied too – there’s a stunning resolution that brings all of the characters slowly back to centre stage for the written word’s equivalent of a final bow. I don’t want to ruin things for you by going in to too much detail, but I can promise you that it’s worth sticking to your guns and reading to the end.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A strong read, 24 Feb. 2013
By 
Jrc Salter "jrcsalter" (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Oliver Twist (Kindle Edition)
I have been fortunate for my opinion not to have been tainted by the numerous adaptations of this book. In particular the famous musical version. I know of various scenes and have watched the beginning of many adaptations, but I never knew the story until I read this book.

What I liked most about this book was the fact Oliver is played as a minor character. He is shifted around from situation to situation almost as if he were a macguffin for the other characters. Which is a good thing because Oliver himself is a terrible character. I never thought I'd say that about a Dickens character, but it's true. While he's okay at the beginning while he's poor and miserable, when he gets rescued, he becomes a disturbingly happy person who cries at everything. It's annoying to read.

The rest of the characters are, however, brilliant. Mr Bumble is a man you just love to hate, while Mr. Brownlow is a great fatherly figure who takes pity on the boy he accused of stealing from him. The villains are the best though. The Artful Dodger walks out of the page and is completely unforgettable; a very streetwise boy who speaks in strange slang that leaves Oliver (and the reader) at a loss as to what he's saying half the time. Fagin has become infamous in the world of Dickensian villains and it's no wonder why. He has recruited a gang of mostly boys and sending them out to thieve for him. But he doesn't seem a detestable character. He looks after his workers, but is still a child labourer as bad as Mr. Bumble. It is also due to this subtle villainy that when Bill Sikes appears, the latter man seems the most evil person alive. You really feel that this man is dangerous. A feeling you would not have without Fagin.

As for the plot, it jumps about the place. As was done with most of Dickens' work, it was originally published in instalments and you can see this effect. But it works as you witness how the lives of other people are affected by Oliver. But, like many other Dickens' novels, I have to take issue with the ending. It was all wrapped up in a neat little exposition by Mr. Brownlow with more than a few major coincidences thrown in. What I did like though, and what I thought was one of the strongest portions of the novel was the second to last chapter talking about Fagin in his cell. It gives a vivid description of his feelings as the days crept by and the date of his execution grew nearer.

All in all, a decent book containing unforgettable characters and villains, let down by a terrible titular character and a completely unbelievable ending.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A first-rate novel, 3 April 2012
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This review is from: Oliver Twist (Wordsworth Classics) (Paperback)
This was only Dickens' second novel, but it features most of the themes and characteristics that would be the hallmarks of Dickens' literary output. So, Oliver Twist take a high moral tone in seeking to draw attention to the desperate conditions that the poor lived in, populated by a succession of memorable and memorably named characters.

The book tells the story of the orphan Oliver Twist, born in a poor house and subject to mistreatment by a long succession of people. Oliver is twice saved by the intervention of wealthy individuals, and although he can at times be a somewhat blank character, he serves as a good vehicle to explore the failings of the institutional support that should serve to assist him, rather than treating him as an inconvenience. This book is full of powerful, biting sarcasm, especially in the earlier chapters before Oliver travels to London to escape the misery he endures as an undertakers apprentice.

Once in London he is drawn into the activities of a criminal gang, and this really opens up the opportunities for Dickens to create a memorable clutch of characters. The master criminal Fagin and his "head boy" the Artful Dodger are two of Dickens' most famous characters, but Bill Sikes and Nancy, Mr Grimwig and Mr Bumble and his future wife are all well drawn, well named and ultimately hugely enjoyable.

This is a book that is driven by anger at the lack of attention that society gave to the poor, but novel frequently reaches beyond this. The is especially true of the vicious murder of Nancy, which still retains the visceral power that so shocked contemporary readers. There is also much humour to be found throughout the book, with Mr Bumble's descent into marital strife really standing out.

For me personally, the ending somewhat detracted from the earlier anger at Oliver's mistreatment - things are put right through a plot twist leaving a saccharine taste in the mouth of the reader. However, Oliver Twist still packs a punch in attempting to alter our perception of the poor and highlight the way that society can sometimes treat them as a problem rather than a group somewhat more deserving.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dickens still wordy, 8 July 2013
By 
Elisabeth Frewin "Leaf" (Andover UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Oliver Twist (Kindle Edition)
At school I found Dickens a bore - too long-winded and analysing his books took all the pleasure away. Now I find I can read them for their storylines but I still find him verbose!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Oliver Twist, 7 Jan. 2013
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This review is from: Oliver Twist (Kindle Edition)
Known around the world as a worthy classic, this venerable old volume still has the magic, even in this day and age, to transport the reader back to that rich world which Dickens portrays. Having enjoyed this book in a more child friendly format many years ago, I have enjoyed this version just as much.

The message still holds true: life is harsh for those who have none to care for them and they often fall into vice or criminal activities to get by. But if those who are destitute are only treated with kindness at critical times...who knows how much better the world would be?

With agreeable satire and a poke at authorities who do not conduct themselves properly, along with a touching ending, it is a book I would recommend to anyone. Despite its age, dated society norms (for example that women are frail, fluttering or fainting at the drop of a hat) and occasionally confusing words from yore, it is an engaging read: you end up cheering on the kind Mr. Brownlow, and booing the likes of Fagin and Sikes.

A cracking good read.
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Oliver Twist (Wordsworth Classics)
Oliver Twist (Wordsworth Classics) by Charles Dickens (Paperback - 2000)
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