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Oliver Twist (Dover Thrift Editions) Paperback – December 30, 2002

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. The inimitable Martin Jarvis brings his talents to bear on Charles Dickens's classic in an audiobook that will delight listeners with its superb recreations of gritty 19th-century London. To escape Mr. Bumble and life in the workhouse, Oliver flees to London where he meets the Artful Dodger and becomes embroiled with Fagin's ragtag band of thieves. Jarvis simply dazzles: his performance captures both the humor and sorrow of the text, his narration is crisp, and his characterizations--his rendition of the terrifying district magistrate, Mr. Fang, is particularly memorable--are as varied as they are energetic, befitting, and enjoyable.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

From School Library Journal

Grade 4-8-Presented by the St. Charles Players, this is an example of radio theatre at its finest. The narration moves the abbreviated story along at a brisk, easy-to-follow pace, while the highly polished troupe of actors offers a colorful array of voices and British dialectsAfrom Cockney low-lives to privileged members of the aristocracy. Sound effects and music add spark to the production. Although this version is only about one-third the length of the original, both the story line and the picture of British social conditions and injustices during Dickens's time come through vividly as young Oliver makes his way from the desolation of a workhouse for orphans to Fagin's den of thieves in London and, finally, to the comfort and security of life with an honorable gentleman. As such, it is bound to whet the appetites of upper elementary and middle school youngsters who will be intrigued into reading the original. It also offers, through drama, an enjoyable way of understanding history and should stimulate lively discussions on the relationship between dire poverty and a life of crime.
Carol Katz, Harrison Public Library, NY
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 362 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications; Reprint. edition (December 30, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486424537
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486424538
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.2 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (541 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,205 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

One of the grand masters of Victorian literature, Charles Dickens was born on February 7, 1812, in Landport, Portsea, England. He died in Kent on June 9, 1870. The second of eight children of a family continually plagued by debt, the young Dickens came to know not only hunger and privation,but also the horror of the infamous debtors' prison and the evils of child labor. A turn of fortune in the shape of a legacy brought release from the nightmare of prison and "slave" factories and afforded Dickens the opportunity of two years' formal schooling at Wellington House Academy. He worked as an attorney's clerk and newspaper reporter until his Sketches by Boz (1836) and The Pickwick Papers (1837) brought him the amazing and instant success that was to be his for the remainder of his life. In later years, the pressure of serial writing, editorial duties, lectures, and social commitments led to his separation from Catherine Hogarth after twenty-three years of marriage. It also hastened his death at the age of fifty-eight, when he was characteristically engaged in a multitude of work.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

117 of 127 people found the following review helpful By Zack Davisson HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 28, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book surprised me, not by the quality of its writing, which one can expect from Charles Dickens, but by the violent, lusty primal quality of the story. This is no dry musty tome, but a vital novel that arouses both passion and intellect. A literal page turner, I found myself having more than one sleepless night when I just couldn't put it down.
Inside are some of the major characters in the realm of fiction; Fagin and his gang of child thieves, including the Artful Dodger. Nancy, the proverbial hooker with a heart of gold. Master Charles Bates (was this a pun even then?) Bad Bill Sikes, who shows the darker edge to all of this dangerous fun, and the innocent, pure Oliver Twist, who is the very definition of nature over nurture.
A great book, and one that I am glad to have finally read.
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful By "jackcoleman" on February 21, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
A novel of this size can be daunting for the reader. "If I start this book, I'm going to have to spend the next month finishing it". That's what I thought anyway. But in Oliver Twist I sailed through the pages. It's rare that a classic, and I have read many of them, becomes a page-turner but this one did. Maybe I was lucky in not having seen the film versions prior to the reading of the book because I desperately wanted to find out what happened to Oliver and the multitude of other brilliantly written characters who inhabit the pages of Dickens' classic.
The plot is simple. A boy escapes his orphan home to live in London with a group of thieves and pickpockets. He's saved from this depraved life by a kindly, lonely old gentleman. But the villains, Bill Sykes and especially Fagin, fear that the boy may rat them out and so they kidnap him back. Can Oliver make it back to the life he deserves?
Oliver's story is not a very originally one, but it is enlivened by some of the greatest characters I've ever seen written. My personal favourites and there are many, are Noah Claypole who becomes a principle player and a very funny one at that, near the book's conclusion; and Mr. Brownlow, who's catchphrase "I'll eat my own head" had me bursting into laughter.
The book is diminished by its excessive sentimentality at the conclusion. Its female characters, apart from the courageous Nancy, are written in a golden light so as to become fantasies rather than the gloriously dirty reality of their male counterparts. A sub-plot between Mary and her boyfriend is ridiculously excessive.
Against these weaknesses, the book is a triumph of character. Often memorably played on screen, the two villains have become more famous than the title character, who is slightly simpering. Fagin is deliciously smarmy and Sykes is evil incarnate. They get their comuppance in justifiably brutal fashion. Dickens like most of us was a sucker for a happy ending.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Annie on April 9, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I couldn't get into Dickens in high school, I guess my maturity level just wasn't there. But I bought this classic for my home schooling 6th grade daughter, and vowed to read it no matter what. Well, after the first chapter, I was hooked. And she really loved it too. We read it much faster than I had anticipated, considering the language and size of the book. Highly recommended!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Angry Panda on February 23, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Dickens' Oliver Twist is, of course, wonderful, deserving all the fame and fondness that it has garnered over the years. I'll instead focus on this Penguins Classics edition, which may interest those looking for a hardcover of the novel. The cover is nicely decorated and textured, the paper is high quality, the introduction and notes are informative, and the illustrations are wonderful. But there are two negatives. First and foremost, the font is smaller than average and a strain on the eyes after a while. I also purchased Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, and Emma from the same Penguin series, and their fonts are larger and easier on the eyes--what you would expect in typical hardcovers. I wish they had used the same font here. Second, and again in contrast to the Austen novels, the ink for the marvelous watches on the cover smudges a little, and is (as another reviewer noted) lifted partly off with the sticker on the back. This is not a big deal for me, but may be for others. Otherwise, this is a fine edition that looks great on the shelf and is a pleasure to peruse. Just remember to give your eyes more frequent breaks.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Bianca Kramer on April 9, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The creative novel Oliver Twist, written by Charles Dickens in 1838, defines a classic of all times. This intense story reflects a young boy's life in London with no family or place to go. Oliver's mother dies while giving birth to her son in the beginning of the book. Oliver's father remains unknown. Throughout the book the reader sees constant struggles. Oliver is befriended by Fagin and his company. Fagin, along with the Artful Dodger, invite Oliver to stay with them and become a thief. During one of Oliver's pick pocketing adventures; he is caught by Mr. Brownlow. Instead of reprimanding the young lad, Mr. Brownlow decides to raise him. Oliver desperately searches for the answer to his past while trying to stay alive on the streets of London. Ironically, Mr. Brownlow is Oliver's grandfather. A dominate theme of Oliver Twist examines the importance of family. Oliver's early years taught him to fend for himself and he suffers from never experiencing a loving and nurturing childhood. The setting of the book plays a powerful role as the story unfolds. Dickens describes the setting of London and all the places that Oliver stays very descriptively. "The street was very narrow and muddy, and the air was impregnated with filthy odor. The walls and ceiling of the room were perfectly black with age and dirt..." (page. 56). Dickens explains the facilities that were available to poor Oliver and makes them sound unbearable. He does an excellent job making the setting come alive and allows the reader to plight. I would recommend all readers at some point in life to delve into this classic. I found Oliver Twist very moving and towards the end hoping only the best for poor Oliver.
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