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Oliver Twist [Paperback]

Charles Dickens
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (86 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 4.75 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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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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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 --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 - A True Classic Oct. 29 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
As soon as I opened the book, I was transported through time to England, in the mid-19th century. It took a few chapters to get into the book, reading the older english. It doesn’t help that Charles Dickens “wrote” the accents into the book, spelling ‘what’ like ‘wot’ or substituting w’s for some of the v’s, such as “conweniency”. Although that was a minor setback, I got the hang of it rather quickly and enjoyed the book.

The story opens with a poor, nameless, boy being brought into the world in a workhouse. Very shortly after birth, his mother dies, without telling anyone her name or story. Oliver Twist, as he was called by the parish beadle, is then subjected to a life of misery and hunger, work and mistreatment. Shortly into the book is the famous scene where Oliver requests seconds of supper, “Please, Sir, I want some more.” After such an audacious request, Oliver is branded an obstinate, ungrateful boy, and the workhouse board looks to pawn him off to anyone who would take him. Mr. Sowerberry does, and so begins Oliver’s life outside of the workhouse. Only a few days after Mr. Sowerberry so kindly takes him in, Oliver decides he can’t stand it any longer, and heads off in the middle of the night for London, where “Nobody - not even Mr. Bumble - could find him...”

When he has almost reached that city of promise, he runs into a “gentleman” named Mr. Jack Dawkins. The young man befriends our little, friendless Oliver, and goes the rest of the way with him to London. There, The Artful Dodger, as he is also called, leads Oliver to meet some other friends, namely, Fagin and his gang, including: Charley Bates, Nancy, and later, Bill Sikes.
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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 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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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
classic - good
Published 2 months ago by AJ
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
book to small and writing to small
Published 2 months ago by len schmidt
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 20 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 24 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
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