Great Expectations

or “My Life in Blog Sounds Much Cooler Than It Really Is”

Book #3 – Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

Posted by mandyhuckins on March 17, 2009

I love Dickens and I love the story of Oliver Twist, but I could not remember if I had actually read this novel in its entirety, so I picked it up at the beginning of this year.  I very fondly remember seeing the musical Oliver at the Dock Street Theater in Charleston, but I was a little disappointed in the book.  It was so dreary and sad – very dark in some places.  Of course, as a reader, you find yourself rooting for poor Oliver, who continually finds himself in tight spots.  Just as you think he is going to get himself out of his life of squalor, the bad guys catch up with him again and drag him back.  Although I like the idea of intrinsic goodness overcoming evil situations, it was unrealistic for Oliver, a small boy, to not be taken in by some of the bad things going on in his surroundings.

Great Expectationsby Dickens is on my Top 50 books of all time list, so I hoped that Oliver would measure up, but it lacked the humor and the memorable, likeable characters found in GE.  Dickens is known for what was at the time considered to be a shocking portrayal of city life and he does a decent job here of showing us the lives of criminals.  In modern times, we have become so desensitized to violence and hard crimes that we see Fagin and the gang as petty criminals.  While it might have been shocking to contemporary readers, I thought it lacked the grit and reality of A Tale of Two Cities, for instance. 

On a recent trip to the airport, I found an interesting book while browsing around, killing time.  It is called Drood and it is a novel about an event that happened to Charles Dickens, leading to his authoring The Mystery of Edwin Drood.  I am very intrigued to read both.  Add those to the list…


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