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27 of 30 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

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Good read
The novel provides a greater story than the stage shows and films I have previously seen. It's a great read for anynody interested in the Victorian era.
Published 9 months ago by Tobchipbob


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27 of 30 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
(REAL NAME)   
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant., 25 July 2014
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I really enjoyed this book, it's the first time I've read it. So full of description and gives an excellent insight of how people lived and Dicken's gives a vivid description of the times. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and would recommend it to anyone young or old who haven't read Charles Dickens before to read it.
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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
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
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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4.0 out of 5 stars Please, no more footnotes!, 22 Sep 2014
Just a warning, that if you find footnotes annoying, avoid this edition! There are sometimes 3 or 4 asterisks per page, meaning you have to flip to the back of the book to see the explanation. You can try ignoring them but they still disturb the flow of the narrative, and bit like someone butting in with a "did you know?" just when you are in the middle of an exciting bit of narrative.

And the footnotes are often not worth it - do we really need to be told that "brings fresh intelligence" means "brings news"? Is a footnote really required to explain what a pedlar is? Or to that Chester is "a market town in Northern England" ?

Sounds like a small gripe but really i try and avoid the oxford editions now as the asterisks (2 or 3 a page) just get in the way.

Otherwise, great book - Dickens at his darkest and most memorable!
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So Much More in the Book, 28 July 2010
By 
Sir Furboy (Aberystwyth, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Oliver Twist (Wordsworth Classics) (Paperback)
So many people know the story of Oliver Twist from the film or stage adaptions, and these are indeed excellent and worth their popularity. However there is so much more to this story to be found by reading the book.

I first read this book aged 12 and recently re-read it. It is short enough that children and young people certainly can enjoy it despite the slightly dated nature of the text. And indeed it does not feel as dated as it might. This is a timeless work, laced with a lot of humour that certainly surpised and delighted me when I read it as a boy.

On re-reading, all my old favourite passages were there. The place where Oliver is asked to bow to the board, but not seeing a board fortunately bows to the table instead. The hilarious trial of the Artful Dodger or the comic Mr Bumble and especially his famous "the law is a ass" passage were all just as I had remembered them. I was more surpised by the biting irony I found on rereading the book though. I am not sure if I missed this when I was younger or whether I had just forgotten it, but Dickens does this very well.

The only criticism of the story is a well known one. The "Dickensian Coincidences" make the world of Dickesn seem like a very small place! But this book is rightly a classic and I hope it will be enjoyed by people young and old for many years to come.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I love this Everymans edition, 8 Feb 2009
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I won't say anything about Oliver Twist, except that along with Great Expectations, David Copperfield and two or three others this is one of the Dickens novels that you really must read.
If you do buy, get the Everymans Library edition, which is not only great value, but a elegant hardback volume with a clear, legible text on quality paper. It even has one of those red ribbons to mark your place. When you have read it you can pass it on to your children or lend it to a friend knowing they probably won't want to give it back. Better than a paperback which in a few years time will have all the pages falling out. Excellent.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Little Orphan Oliver, 14 Jan 2005
By 
Peter Reeve (Thousand Oaks, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
Oliver Twist is one of Dickens' early novels - he worked on The Pickwick Papers, Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickleby simultaneously - and one of his best loved. It has what you would expect from him: memorable characters, evocative descriptions, melodrama, pathos (more often bathos) and a plot that relies on completely incredible coincidences. These latter are sometimes explained away by the characters themselves as being ordained by Fate, benign or otherwise, and must have been more acceptable to a Victorian readership than to one of the present day, who are likely to groan at each 'who should it be but' revelation.
The crossovers with Pickwick and Nickleby are noticeable. For example, The Artful's court appearance is clearly intended to be as funny as Sam Weller's, although it pales by comparison.
The most famous character is of course Fagin, and Dickens' casual anti-Semitism in his treatment of him is another thing that might discomfit the modern reader. He references him as The Jew, always in a derogatory manner. That this is a reflection of contemporary attitudes can be seen from Scott's Ivanhoe, in which Jewish characters are treated with similar hostility and contempt. But it is not the main characters that are most successful - and especially not the title character himself, who is innocent and bland beyond belief - but the supporting cast; Mr. Bumble and his lady, the servants in the house that gets burgled, the old bachelor who keeps threatening to eat his own head, and many others. They make the book a delight.
As always, Dickens is the master of descriptive narrative and he conjures a grim and compelling view of Victorian London's underside.
If you have not yet read any Dickens, this is not a bad book with which to start, although for younger readers (teens) I would recommend Hard Times as their first. Either book will probably leave you, like Oliver, wanting more.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Sounds a bit familiar to me..., 30 Sep 2014
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This review is from: Oliver Twist (Kindle Edition)
Great story - not sure if it will take off. I mean, the author's name sounds a bit familiar (sure someone else has used it?) And come on! Who would call the main man (boy) 'Twist'? Have you ever met anyone called 'Twist'? (if you have sorry). Come to that: 'Fagin'? Bill Sykes? Tried to make him a nice by giving him a dog...but then he goes and kills his girlfriend...anyway, give it time it might sell a few copies. Hey! Maybe a movie? Set to music? Now you're talking...
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic, 12 Oct 2003
I had read Christmas Carol at some point in my life, but never the original version. I realized that I actually hadn't read anything by Dickens then. Still he is considered one of the greatest of all times. A swap in New Zealand helped me to an omnibus. Having to wait in Perth gave me plenty of time to start it. I had heard about Dickens being interesting, historically relevant and a brilliant author.
But nobody told me about the wit, about the sarcasm and irony. Nobody told me about the underlying political message. I discovered it all through this book. And I enjoyed reading Dickens. It was good to have a book that reads slowly once in a while. Everybody knows the story of Oliver, be it from a children's book version, be it from a film or musical. But who has actually read the book? The original version I mean. I'm glad I did. Even though it did drag on a bit, nearly 300 pages is quite a lot for such a simple story, I have to say that this book has raised my appetite for more Dickens. Anybody interested in reading a classic? Reading about the 19th century? A story that is more than just that? A book that can be read by both children and adults? Say yes to any of these questions and Dickens might be your answer.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Timeless storytelling, 1 Aug 2002
An immensely enjoyable read but newcomers to Dickens are not advised to start here. Despite it's famous name which has developed over the last 30/40 years thanks to the stage play and film Oliver Twist is not Dickens' best novel but it can be seen as a blueprint for later masterworks such as 'Great Expectations' and 'David Copperfield'.
Some of the coincidences in the storyline are a bit far fetched and the ending is a little bit too "neat" but it is easy to put these to one side and revel in the beauty of its telling and character development over 500 plus pages. As usual with Dickens the story is very sad and you can't help but feel very emotional by the final page.
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Oliver Twist (Wordsworth Classics)
Oliver Twist (Wordsworth Classics) by Charles Dickens (Paperback - 2000)
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