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Oliver Twist (Penguin Classics)

Oliver Twist - George Cruikshank, Charles Dickens, Philip Horne It's hard not to like Dickens. He creates these eccentric supporting characters that are quirky, bizarre and totally lovable. But unlike so many of his masterpieces, Oliver Twist lacks a complex hero or main character. The book begins with Oliver's birth in a poor work house. His mother dies in child birth and his father is unknown. Oliver grows up under horrible conditions forced to work and is poorly fed - and yes, that famous line that we all remember from the Broadway musical and movie, 'Please, sir, I want some more' is a line from the book! After some failed apprenticeships, Oliver escapes to London and is taken in by a group of children pick pockets, trained by Fagin. As the book progresses, Oliver gains many allies among both his band of thieves as well as some wealthy families, who coincidentally are related to Oliver's unfortunate mother. What I found lacking in this Dickens' novel is that Oliver, although a sweet and innocent child, doesn't really grow and develop the heroic personality of some of Dickens other main characters - David Copperfield, Pip from Great Expectations, or my favorite, Esther from Bleak House. Definitely Oliver Twist is still a book worth reading, but I didn't find it as strong as some of his other works. I listened to the audio version performed by John Lee who has a deep soothing British voice. His skill at accents from the cockney dregs of London to the upper class was very well done.