From the start I was instantly drawn in by Dickens' humor and sarcasm. The way he'd mock those who mistreated Oliver by pretending to agree with them and that their intentions were noble. It had this amazing capacity to engage me and make me scorn the dirty rotten characters who sought to bully Oliver, while never making less of the suffering that was going on.
I was horrified, as much as a person can be by a fictional story, of the way people treated each other, those less fortunate, and the children in their care.
When Mr. Brownlow enters the picture, it allowed for some relief and also the continued feel of realism by having not all characters be evil.
The book is much too long to go over in detail, so I'll try and hit on just some key stuff.
I kept picturing Mr. Bumble as Mr. Smee(having him be that goofy looking and sound like that). And Fagin was Gollum with his constant groveling and "my dear" while all the time seeking to get the upperhand and wanting to kill those over him.
I loved Oliver's heart and how he strove to be good in a world that was trying to corrupt him. I smiled when reading about how he ran around helping Rose and Mrs. Maylie. I could picture that youthful enthusiasm.
Nancy's fate, though I knew it already, hit me harder than it ever had. There was something in the way it was told that was so . . . morbid. It was so terrible that the criminals couldn't even deal with it and everyone was ready to have Sikes captured.
The final chapters after that event where Sikes is fleeing from real and imaginary foes, and then the scene in London as he's at last cornered was just wow. So intense that I read it twice. Once to myself, and once outloud to my husband who I pulled down beside me going, "Oh my gosh!!! You've got to hear this!"
Really, the whole book was extremely well-written, but those chapters there were above and beyond. They were the best, most passionate, most real and heart-pounding of the story.
It was nice to see justice dolled out to most of the buggers who'd been so nasty throughout the book, and the good rewarded. Though there was some grey where the good didn't win out and the evil escaped(Sowerberry's and Charlotte/Noah). There was also a nice redemption story for one of the crinimals and a second chance for another who blew it, but you can't say he wasn't given the chance.
So many good things about this book, though I'll always be sad about Nancy.