OLIVER TWIST by Charles Dickens | Review

Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens is one of those classic stories that everyone thinks they know– that is, until they actually sit down to read the novel in its entirety. Prior to starting this book in the middle of a flight from England back to the States, I thought this would be the simple story of an orphan boy struggling to survive in Victorian England. This novel is exactly that– and so, so much more complicated. I should have known that nothing Dickensian could ever be simple!

The first thing that struck me is how violent, unsettling, and sad this novel is compared to what I thought it would be– though I suppose this should be expected from Dickens. A constant stream of Poor Oliver! ran through my head the entire time I was reading, especially in the beginning before I realized that this would be the tone of the whole novel. Unfortunately, the unrelenting dark tone of the novel ultimately made it seem as though the plot dragged on for far too long. There are only so many unpleasant plot twists one can endure before it all seems too much. The plot itself wasn’t slow– there were plenty of surprises along the way– but the unwavering misfortunes that occur made the books seem much longer than it needed to be.

The major redeeming quality of this book for me was Dickens’ clever, witty writing. While his characters may be over-the-top at times, the exaggerated characteristics they possess all say important things about society in the Victorian Era. For instance, the fact that Mr. Bumble is willing to give Oliver away reflects the harsh reality that orphans during this time period had to face as poverty reigned in urban areas. There’s no denying that Dickens was a masterful writer and storyteller, weaving bits of everyday life into his fiction.

“But, tears were not the things to find their way to Mr. Bumble’s soul; his heart was waterproof.”

I don’t have a lot to say about Oliver Twist in general because I have rather lukewarm feelings toward the novel. I didn’t love it nearly as much as I adored Great Expectations, but I didn’t completely dislike it, either. Personally, I feel as though this might have been a timing misjudgment on my part– I tend to be a mood reader, and starting this novel on a long flight when I was tired and didn’t have the energy to focus on Dickens’ curving, swerving plots. I’d definitely be willing to give it another chance in the future!

I would recommend this to anyone who, like me before I read this novel, thinks they know the story of Oliver Twist– chances are that you’ll be at least a bit surprised!

What are your thoughts on Oliver Twist? Do you have a favorite Dickens novel? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

25 responses to “OLIVER TWIST by Charles Dickens | Review”

  1. great review holly! i liked the writing style of “oliver twist”, but i also didn’t like it as much as i loved “great expectations”. and in my opinion, for a book called “oliver twist”, there wasn’t that much oliver in it 😀

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    1. Thanks!! That’s such a great point– sometimes it seems like poor little Oliver is hardly in the actual story. I definitely enjoyed Great Expectations much more 🙂

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  2. Wonderful review Holly! I have never read any book by Dickens, though I want to. Just the size of his books make me overwhelmed 😜 But I guess I should definitely try reading him!

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    1. The length of Dickens’ novels can definitely be intimidating! My favorite thus far is Great Expectations– it’s quite long but worth the read 🙂

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  3. I haven’t re-read “Oliver Twist” for ages- but I think you’re quite right- it’s nowhere near as good as “Great Expectations” (to be fair though, not many things are…)

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    1. That’s so true! Great Expectations is brilliant ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I read this in the tutoring room at school surrounded by people asking me what I was reading. I HATED it, but I love David Copperfield. I need to reread this one because I have no idea if I hated it because I didn’t read it in the right environment. I read the whole thing in segments between students! 🙂

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    1. I’ve heard that David Copperfield is really good, especially in comparison to Oliver Twist. Maybe that’ll be the next Dickens’ novel I’ll tackle 🙂

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  5. I’m so glad you enjoyed it! A Tale of Two Cities is my favourite work by Dickens. Also – Great Review!

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    1. Thanks so much! 🙂 A Tale of Two Cities is great as well.

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      1. I plan to re-read it…but I really have to stop re-reading books when I have so many others to read that I haven’t read yet!!

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  6. Great review! Dickens is such a good writer and the Victorian society was so cruel and Savage. Have you read David Copperfield? It is sad … For what I read it was sad 😦

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    1. I haven’t read David Copperfield yet, but I think it’s going to be next on my Dickens list. Although I don’t really like sad books, so we’ll see…

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      1. What I like about then is their historicity :3 but yes we will see 😉

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  7. I don’t exactly have a favourite Dickens novel, but I like a few selected ones- especially Great Expectations! Do you like that one?
    Xxx

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    1. Great Expectations is my favorite one! ❤ Pip is such a great protagonist.

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      1. Yay!! Ikr! Xx

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  8. It’s not very often I see book bloggers reviewing classics like this 🙂 Almost everybody wants the newest books before they are the newest books. Great review! I haven’t read this one yet but it is on my list!

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    1. Thanks! 🙂 Sometimes I feel like I’m definitely n the minority with all the classics I read/blog about. But they’re so great!

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      1. I read mostly Indie. It’s nice to see people who don’t read exactly what everybody else does.

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  9. This is one I’m definitely going to get to (eventually) – I’ve only read a few of Dickens’ short stories so I need to start gradually making my way through his books! I’m intrigued to see how dark it ends up being, I don’t really know much about the story of Oliver Twist anyway besides the typical “please sir, can I have some more?” quote 😆 But I’m always up for books with darker tones so I wonder if it will hit the mark for me!

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    1. You’ll probably enjoy this one if you like dark stories! Dickens always tends to be a bit twisted 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. […] Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens. Poor Oliver! This novel was much darker than I initially expected it would be… although I should have known that any Dickens novel wouldn’t likely be sunshine and rainbows! […]

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  11. […] Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens. Poor Oliver! This novel was much darker than I initially expected it would be… although I should have known that any Dickens novel wouldn’t likely be sunshine and rainbows! […]

    Like

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