SIX Stars or more, the story draws on genius. The Victorian era! This was a horrible time in English history when the so called Upper-class (and those who thought they were) walked all over the poor. It was in such a time as this that a young feeble woman gave birth to a baby and then died. The child was counted as an orphan and a pauper and therefore a matter for distain and neglect. No one cared what became of him. He received the barest of care, just enough to keep him alive, and for what? To be used and abused by all who should have been his protectors. This child is given his name without love or thought but mealy through an alphabet system devised for such births. He was in the O's for his first name, so received Oliver, and in the T's for his surname, so given the name of Twist. Oliver entered the work house at the age of seven to work long hours with little food and much abuse and ridicule. Cruelty to such children was used for amusement by those in charge of them. Many children died as they had lived, without knowing any love or nurturing. And no one cared. The story takes you on a journey of such hardship that you will be unable to fathom how such evil was allowed. Yet good times do come and when they do, the reader feels that at last there is some justice in the world. This is a classic novel of those times written with very descriptive language. Some of which used by the poor was atrocious. One such manner of speech is the Headline I have used for the review... often said almost as an oath to prove reality.
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.
good storyline, very well narrated but I had a really hard job of casting out of my mind Ron Moodys portrayal of Fagan out of my head. Once the other characters came to life it made it easier. Another Dickens masterpiece, was captivated at the part where Sikes kills Nancy and the sad end the dog came too. Would highly recommend this adaptation and narration.