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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
Set in Victorian London, this is a tale of a spirited young innocent's unwilling but inevitable recruitment into a scabrous gang of thieves. Masterminded by the loathsome Fagin, the underworld crew features some of Dickens' most memorable characters, including the vicious Bill Sikes, gentle Nancy, and the juvenile pickpocket known as the Artful Dodger.

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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.


"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
5.0 out of 5 stars Oliver Twist re-visited March 16 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
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. It really is a classic and I can tell you I appreciated it much more this time around. I'm now inspired to go back and read more of the classics.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Timeless classic Nov. 23 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is one of Dickens' most accessible tales for the younger audience, though it's still a pretty emotionally wrenching read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Pleasant Rediscovery Sept. 17 2006
By James Gallen TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
"Oliver Twist" was assigned reading for my sophomore English class in 1967, and did not finish it until today. To this high school student, it seemed too depressing to hold my interest, even under compulsion. When I recently started this again in preparation for watching "Oliver" at the Muny I was presently surprised. I now understand why this is a classic and maintains a loyal following. The story held my interest in what would happen next. I could see the traits of the characters and the development of the plot while progressing through the story. I am glad I rediscovered "Oliver Twist". Whether you are interested in classical literature or just a good story, it is a good choice.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Surprising Delight July 18 2004
By K. Ko
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 The Language is Easier to Understand April 8 2004
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The meandering plots of most Dickens novels leave me cold most of the time, but I found this book easier to understand and enjoy. I'm glad I finally pulled the book off the shelf and read it.
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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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4.0 out of 5 stars Oliver Twist... May 29 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
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. Although sometimes it tended to extend the text longer than needed and the constant switching between scenes made it hard to follow. But I do acknowledge that this may be due to my lack of patience and comprehension and may attempt reading it again in the latter of my years.
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