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A Reading Vocation

"I Must Read, Read, and Read. It is my Vocation." - Thomas Merton

This is where I chronicle my reading life.  I also blog about writing at Lacey's Late-night Editing.

 

Book 41/100: Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens

After reading four Charles Dickens books, I think I can officially say I'm not a fan of his work and be exempted from reading him again, despite the "classics" status of his work.

I'm just not a fan of the "episodic" narration style that was popular back then; I find it jarring. In addition, there is SO much author commentary and vague summarizations that would never fly with today's editors (things like: "After he made many comments of a similar nature ..."). While I can appreciate his social commentary on the deplorable conditions and treatment of London's impoverished, as well as on the hypocrisy of many public figures and other members of authority, there remains an undercurrent that one is "redeemed" only by wealth.

For a book about Oliver Twist, I was surprised at how many sublots there were, and how little I felt like I got to know him as a character aside from a child who was preternaturally good and virtuous (a bit of a Gary Stu). Also, for all the attention The Artful Dodger gets, he did not get nearly as much "pagetime" as I would expect, and I'm not quite sure why his popularity rose so high above Charlie Bates's, who was of a similar character. Perhaps just because of the awkwardness of the book's frequent reference to Charlie Bates as "Master Bates"? (This is especially distracting in the audio version.)

Overall, I found this book held my interest more than Great Expectations, but I'm still not sure what all the fuss is about.