What the Dickens?! Review of ‘Oliver Twist’

by Lee Cross

I often fall in love with novels, it happens I’m afraid, as bookworms go I’m the sort who wears high-heels, short-skirts and waaaaay too much make-up… I’m a complete book slut.

BUT! I just read Oliver Twist!!! Oh. My. Gosh!

27606596eb710126e7e94647b1d3e1f9I think I was about ten pages in (probably less) when I started mentally jumping up and down with excitement; what a truly wonderful book, compelling to literally the very last line, I just never wanted to put it down.

[Fair warning – from this part on they’ll be spoilers]

Usually after a great book I’m all about the visual – you know, the stuff that happened, rather than the how it happened but Twist had me turned inside out on myself. Dickens skill with the English language is utterly mind blowing, the language wasn’t just knitted together, it was beyond that… every word was independent, yet simultaneously interconnected, to such an extent that it would take an expert in quantum entanglement to explain the bonding fully.

One particular word stood out above all others; ‘philosopher’. To me the word means enlightened, educated and insightful; In the world of Master Twist, it means fool, dreamer, fantasist… I couldn’t help but smile, Dickens in a single word, had me completely won over.

And Fagan! What a bastard! I’m serious, I hate that guy! I’ve never been more happy to see a man go to the rope than I was when he finally got his comeuppance.

Growing up I had seen the movie (hasn’t every child?) and in my mind, at least before page one, I had Fagan cast as a sort of lovable rouge, a bad man certainly but ultimately just a man trying to make his way in the world… and his way just happened to be a dishonest one.

While Bill Sikes, on the other hand, was the worst of the worst… and thank gosh I had seen the movie ahead of time, otherwise, Nancy death would surely have brought me to tears on public transport.

Imagine my surprise when I found out I had it backwards, that it was Fagan who truly was the epitome of evil… the man who pulled the strings… a man completely without moral or remorse.

Never again will I ever hum, ‘you’ve got to pick a pocket or two…’. I’m serious, I’m glad that bastard’s dead! And that really is the point, from start to finish this book is a morality tale; the message is simple – Good Will Out.

Having a shitty day at work? – Good Will Out.

Have to choose between butter and jam? – don’t worry Miss Honey; Good Will Out.

Born an orphan in the poor house, persecuted time and time again, year after year…? Stay strong – The Good Will Out.

Thank you Charles Dickens. Thank you Oliver Twist. You’ve filled me with hope.

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