Hello my lovely Bookworms,
I just finished reading Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens. After having my heart broken watching Les Miserables and recalling what an awesome character Gavroche was, I had a hankering for some street urchin that only Dickens could cure. I know some of you are thinking, “Ewww classics…” True, Dickens isn’t a fan of brevity. Clear concise prose is over-rated! Why use a single word when you can use 20? His sentences meander like the streets of London. Get into the spirit, y’all!
Poor Oliver Twist! His mother dies in childbirth and he’s left to be reared in a workhouse. Ah yes. What’s a workhouse? Well. Governments have been trying to figure out what to do about poor people for a long time. In Dickens’s day, the solution to the problem was the workhouse. The English government figured they should feed their people, but they didn’t want them getting too comfortable being housed and fed and all, so they made the workhouses as unpleasant as possible. Families were separated into male and female dormitories. They were forced into uniforms. They were fed extremely little, and what they were fed was basically gruel. Yeah. Gruel is a thing. Also, they were forced to work to earn their room and board. Basically, it was a giant pile of suck, and Oliver was born into it.
One day young Oliver, after having the gall to ask for a second meager portion of his daily gruel, was labeled a bad seed. The parish wanted to get the ungrateful bastard out of their hair, so they decided to apprentice him out to a cruel undertaker. After having his fill of the abuse there and lashing out at his tormentor, Oliver runs away and decides to try his luck on the streets of London.
He’s quickly swept into a charismatic gang of pick pockets and hustlers. The Artful Dodger, Fagin, Bill Sykes, and Nancy make a colorful crew. Regardless of the sticky situations Oliver finds himself in, his inner goodness cannot be extinguished. From time to time, I was a little annoyed with Oliver… He can be kind of a weenie. Oliver’s story twists and turns through kidnappings and secrets and family scandals until he’s finally delivered a happy ending. Even though Oliver lacked a certain moxie, it’s hard to argue with giving the kid a happy ending.
What about you, Bookworms? Who’s read Oliver Twist? Who enjoys the Dickens? Tell me about it!