Book / DVD Film Review: Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

Book Review:

  • Title: Oliver Twist
  • Author: Charles Dickens
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  • Date: Original Edition around 1839, Penguin Books 1994
  • ISBN: 014062046X

This is the first time I’ve actually read any books by Charles Dickens. I read Oliver Twist, because I am familiar with the Musical productions, having a copy of the 1968 TV Musical Oliver!, on DVD. I’ve also seen the musical on the stage at the Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham (starring Gary Wilmot as Fagin), and am assisting in a variety show that will feature songs from Oliver later this year.

My impression from the book is that whilst the musical keeps to the story quite well (although excluding some aspects of the story, which would too long for a musical production), it doesn’t come close to capturing the emotions and experiences in the book. The musicals are bring across a jovial story about how the poor orphan goes to London to seek his fortune. The book however tells a harrowing tale about how people and children were poorly treated, even to the point of death.

The book was hard to read, and very long winded. In particular the bit that they had dropped from the musical version was a bit laboured on. Determined to finish the book I continued reading. I’m glad I did finish, but I was looking forward to reading some other Dickens’ books afterwards, which I’m not so sure about anymore. I don’t particularly want to read an abridged version, as I think that these may lose some of the emotion in the story (similar to the way that the musical has), but think that this book was just a bit too slow for me.

I’m sure I will try again with another Dickens’ book at some point, but for now I’m going to wait for a while. Still I’m glad I read Oliver, which certainly deserves to be considered as an all time classic story.