Friday, October 2, 2009

Retro Friday Reviews

Retro Friday Review is a weekly meme hosted by Angieville. This focuses on classics, out of print books or just old favorites that don’t get the attention they deserve. This Friday’s review is:

Oliver Twist

By Charles Dickens

A few years ago my husband and I spent a summer in Norway. There was a little book store near our apartment that sold some of the classics, including Oliver Twist. Since these were about the only books they sold in English I decided to give them a try, starting with Oliver. My husband was really excited that I was reading Oliver because he loved the movie and used to watch it with his grandparents when he was a kid. He was kind enough to sing different songs from the movie while I was reading (which really added to the atmosphere of the book). For some reason, while reading Oliver I had a British accent for all the characters. I’ve never done this with any other book, but when I read Oliver everyone sounds British in my head. Another fun thing that came out of reading Oliver was British Go Fish. To entertain ourselves in the evenings we would sometimes play cards. Since I was on such a British kick we started playing British Go Fish. It’s simple really; all you have to do is play Go Fish while using a British accent.

Anyway, I actually really loved this book. All the classics can be a little hard to get into or to understand all the language, but I just ate this one up. I loved the story of young Oliver, how he was named, the different families he got bounced around with, and how throughout it all he stayed a genuine, kind person. I loved the Artful Dodger and how he takes young Oliver under his wing and teaches him all the tricks of pick-pocketing. One day Oliver is witness to a crime and does not get away quick enough and is thrown into prison. The victim takes compassion on Oliver and takes him into his custody. It is there that Oliver finally learns kindness and compassion. He respects Mr. Brownlow and wants to start a new chapter in his life. While he is off running an errand he runs into his old crowd and is sucked back to the life he is trying desperately to leave behind.

There are a lot more plot twists and adventures for young Oliver and in the end he is finally able to find some happiness. I’m sure there are those who would read a lot into this story, I personally just like to read and enjoy watching Oliver’s life unfold. This is definitely one of my favorite books.


  1. I've never read this but it's one I really want to give a go one day. I love the film, and, in April, my mother and I saw the West End production of it in London. Fabulous story. :)

  2. Great choice as always! This is one major Dickens book I haven't read. And I grew up watching the musical as well! I love the stories of you reading it in Norway and hubby singing to you. :)

  3. Ceri-I'm so jealous you've seen the play version, that would be awesome! I've never seen any of the movie versions either,I really need to rent them.

    Angie-My husband will probably kill me for typing that, but it really was so fun to have him singing the different songs as I read. =)

  4. I've wanted to read Dickens for awhile, but his books are so long and the themes are mostly depressing. I like this story though. Haven't read it, but I've seen the movie and a play of Oliver Twist. I really wanted to Read Little Dorrit after watching the Masterpiece Theatre version of it, but when I realized it was 700 or more pages I just couldn't face it. I don't have the time to indulge in that long of story anymore. How long is Oliver Twist? Oh yeah I also think it is way cute that your husband sang to you and I'll have to try British go fish.

  5. I also really have enjoyed the movie versions of Oliver Twist, but for some reason I just can't get into Charles Dickens's books, except for his short stories...great review, though!

  6. I must be some kind of loser because I have never read any of Dikens works! Shame on me. I'm adding this one to my TBR Pile. I really can't picture Ty singing for some reason. Good visual!


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