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Oliver Twist [Paperback]

Charles Dickens
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Dec 30 2002 0486424537 978-0486424538

Starved and mistreated, empty bowl in hand, the young hero musters the courage to approach his master, saying, "Please, sir, I want some more." Oliver Twist's famous cry of the heart has resounded with readers since the novel's initial appearance in 1837, and the book remains a popular favorite with fans of all ages.
Dickens was no stranger to the pain of hunger and the degradation of poverty. He poured his own youthful experience of Victorian London's unspeakable squalor into this realistic depiction of the link between destitution and crime. Oliver escapes his miserable servitude by running away to London, where he unwillingly but inevitably joins a scabrous gang of thieves. Masterminded by the loathsome Fagin, the underworld crew features some of Dickens' most memorable characters, including the juvenile pickpocket known as the Artful Dodger, the vicious Bill Sikes, and gentle Nancy, an angel of self-sacrifice.
A profound social critic, Dickens introduced genteel readers to the problems of the poor in a way that had rarely been attempted before. This tale of the struggle between hope and cruelty continues to speak to modern audiences.


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Oliver Twist + Adventures of Huckleberry Finn + The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
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Product Description

From Library Journal

Oliver Twist was Dickens's second novel and one of his darkest, dealing with burglary, kidnapping, child abuse, prostitution, and murder. Alongside this gallery of horrors are the corrupt and incompetent institutions of 19th-century England set up to address social problems and instead making them worse. The author's moral indignation drives the creation of some of his most memorably grotesque characters: squirming, vile Fagin; brutal Bill Sykes; the brooding, sickly Monks; and Bumble, the pompous and incorrigibly dense beadle. Clearly, a reading of this work must carry the author's passionate narrative voice while being flexible and broad enough to define the wide range of character voices suggested by the text. John Wells's capable but bland reading only suggests the rich possibilities of the material. Restraint and Dickens simply don't go together. The abridgment deftly and seamlessly manages to deliver all major characters and plot lines, but there are many superior audiobook versions of this material, both abridged and unabridged. Not recommended.
-John Owen, Advanced Micro Devices, Sunnyvale, CA
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

"The power of [Dickens] is so amazing, that the reader at once becomes his captive, and must follow him whithersoever he leads."
--William Makepeace Thackeray


From the Trade Paperback edition. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A Surprising Delight July 18 2004
By K. Ko
Format:Paperback
For one whose impression of classics was quite ruined by other less intriguing books I found Oliver Twist to be a surprising delight. Written by Charles Dickens in the 19th century this book portrays the harshness of the lives of the poor in London during the same time it was written. This book enraptures the reader with plot and language (despite the odd paragraphs here and there) and offers a multitude of fascinating characters.
Dickens writes of an orphan boy, Oliver Twist, who runs away from the workhouse and unknowingly joins a group of robbers and pickpockets. The plot that would have been original when it was first published is now quite commonplace. But the language and memorable characters are enough to draw you deep into the story and make the book a page turner.
The unforgettable characters that Dickens has created seem real enough to be someone who had actually lived. The characters are far from appearing fictional; all aspects of their personalities and appearance could be someone who one could pass in the streets (excluding their 19th century attire). Each character seems to have distinct words and phrases that one would associate with them, for instance Mr. Grimwig constantly says ¡§I¡ll eat my head¡ and at times he¡ll add in another head for which he will ¡§eat¡ along with his own. The characters in Oliver Twist are hard to not remember, for there will always be some character that comes to mind when you think of something or the other (like heads).
Despite all this, the book does have its flaws. A novel that would have taken me less than a week to read has now taken me three. Although Oliver Twist may keep you hooked there are parts of a book which may make you put down the book and fail to pick it up for a few days.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Biting Social Commentary, Pretty Good Story March 2 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Starting with Oliver's premature birth to a dying mother looked on by a gin-swilling nurse in a parish workhouse, Dickens tone is extremely satirical. Though his meanings are clear, his craftsmanship with the English language is in rare form in the beginning of Oliver Twist. The "distinguished and enlightened gentlemen" who's reform policies for the workhouse are raked over the coals in glowing language represent an unusual type of Dickens character for me. Usually even Dicken's villains are multi-faceted characters whose motives we understand though disapprove of. Here, the Directors of the parish who eventually pay to get rid of Oliver, are difficult to conceive of. The hardships of the workhouse inmates, more especially what seems like intentional starvation, seem hard to believe though as I read this book, the death of a foster child in New Jersey from starvation brought to light many things going on in twenty-first century reality which had seemed implausible in this nineteenth century novel. The satirical language is often humorous though the subject matter is not and makes the account more palatable. The first of the book is spent in this way which seems really to be more of Dicken's social commentary than pure story line.
In true Dickens style, each of the characters Oliver meets throughout the story are part of a larger, more elaborate plot line that the story is ever trying to unfold. After being apprenticed to the coffinmaker Mr. Sowerberry, he is taunted by the charity boy - Noah Claypole - until he makes a break for London. Accidentally falling into the clutches of local fence Fagin whose aim it is to turn him to a life of crime, Oliver struggles to break free with the help of various good hearted people he befriends along the way despite his situation.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Forsaken child April 9 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The creative novel Oliver Twist, written by Charles Dickens in 1838, defines a classic of all times. This intense story reflects a young boy's life in London with no family or place to go. Oliver's mother dies while giving birth to her son in the beginning of the book. Oliver's father remains unknown. Throughout the book the reader sees constant struggles. Oliver is befriended by Fagin and his company. Fagin, along with the Artful Dodger, invite Oliver to stay with them and become a thief. During one of Oliver's pick pocketing adventures; he is caught by Mr. Brownlow. Instead of reprimanding the young lad, Mr. Brownlow decides to raise him. Oliver desperately searches for the answer to his past while trying to stay alive on the streets of London. Ironically, Mr. Brownlow is Oliver's grandfather. A dominate theme of Oliver Twist examines the importance of family. Oliver's early years taught him to fend for himself and he suffers from never experiencing a loving and nurturing childhood. The setting of the book plays a powerful role as the story unfolds. Dickens describes the setting of London and all the places that Oliver stays very descriptively. "The street was very narrow and muddy, and the air was impregnated with filthy odor. The walls and ceiling of the room were perfectly black with age and dirt..." (page. 56). Dickens explains the facilities that were available to poor Oliver and makes them sound unbearable. He does an excellent job making the setting come alive and allows the reader to plight. I would recommend all readers at some point in life to delve into this classic. I found Oliver Twist very moving and towards the end hoping only the best for poor Oliver.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Oliver Twist re-visited
I haven't read Oliver Twist in over 30 years. The last time was when I was in high school and it was an assigned reading. Read more
Published 17 months ago by gLEN d. aRMSTRONG
5.0 out of 5 stars Timeless classic
This is one of Dickens' most accessible tales for the younger audience, though it's still a pretty emotionally wrenching read.
Published 21 months ago by Clare Wiggill
5.0 out of 5 stars A Pleasant Rediscovery
"Oliver Twist" was assigned reading for my sophomore English class in 1967, and did not finish it until today. Read more
Published on Sept. 17 2006 by James Gallen
5.0 out of 5 stars Oliver-5, Reviewers-0
What's with the dumbass highschool kids panning Oliver Twist while praising the likes of Michael Crichton? Read more
Published on Sept. 1 2005
1.0 out of 5 stars Literary quality does not exist
While cultural pundits try to convince you that some literature is better than other literature, the truth is that all art is relative to individial tastes. Read more
Published on May 6 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars It is a good novel.
Anybody who claims that Oliver Twist is not a good novel should be ashamed of themselves. First of all, Mr. Dickens wrote this in 1838 WHEN HE WAS TWENTY-FOUR! Read more
Published on April 12 2004 by Jill Piangerelli
4.0 out of 5 stars The Language is Easier to Understand
The meandering plots of most Dickens novels leave me cold most of the time, but I found this book easier to understand and enjoy. Read more
Published on April 7 2004
3.0 out of 5 stars okay
I'm a junior in high school and I had to read Dickens's novel in my sophmore year. I liked it. It's my favorite book. Read more
Published on Feb. 13 2004
2.0 out of 5 stars can you say overrated...
I here alot about how this book is a classic and how it has an amazing story, blah blah blah... Well, here's a view from a Freshman in HS. This book totally blows. Read more
Published on Nov. 4 2003
4.0 out of 5 stars Oliver Twist...
I found it to be a well-drawn book; the storyline and the characters involved were very entertaining, particularly the story between Fagin and his charges. Read more
Published on May 28 2003 by Asher Willmott
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