Updated: Sep 9, 2019
I was excited to read this book to get a feel for Oliver's story. I'd heard references from Oliver Twist more times then I can count, but knew very little more then he was an orphaned and mistreated. Oh, and whatever you can extract from Disney's Oliver and Company, and it's hard to extract anything when you don't really know the story to start with!
What's it about?
This is an abridged and modified version of the story to reach a younger audience so please forgive me if it appears as if I've missed something in the plot.
Oliver Twist centers around an orphan who never knew his parents or even who they were. As the years passed, he became a young, mistreated boy, desperate for something better but unsure how to get it. While he didn't actively go out for the great dream, he did find himself in a number of situations that left him no choice but to flee, hoping that what he found next would be better. But, as often happens to young, naive boys living on the street with no one to love them, Oliver soon finds his way among the wrong crowd, a group of thieves and law breakers concerned with no one but themselves and determined to get what they want at all costs. He quickly learns that those he thought may have been his friends were not, and those he disliked and feared deserved to be disliked and feared. No matter how many times he thinks he's found a good home and something close to a family, it's ripped away from him again, until he learns that he's been caught in a web full of dishonest criminals, peppered with loving individuals and he's got to make his way through the deathly maze to find himself out on the other side. Little does he know, that when he emerges, he'll learn the most life changing information he'll ever receive and maybe even find a family, too. Nothing, however, is truly as it seems.
What did I think about it?
Honestly, I found this book to be surprising. I guess I, naively, expected something more akin to Oliver and Company, being the Disney fan that I am. Instead, I found less abuse toward Oliver and more death to those around him then I expected. Of course Dodger is a street thief and not the best of influences, but I expected him to be a bigger presence in the story. He seemed to be more of a throwaway character for most of the plot. I wanted to like him, maybe even love him, but instead I felt indifferent to him, which I guess is better then the rest of the gang, as I pretty much disliked all of them except for Nancy, the woman who tries to save Oliver from the deadly thieves he's fallen in with.
However, I did appreciate the plot twists, while slightly predictable, they still provided enough surprises to make me interested and invested in the ending. I liked that, after the many deaths, the story did seem to have a fairly happy ending. I did, though, feel as if there was a lot of details and plot points that were left out in this simple telling of the classic. Since, as I've already shared, I have not read the story before, I'm sure were breezed over to create a more age appropriate telling (much like Oliver and Company) I did miss the fillings for those gaps. I also found myself reminded that I, personally, prefer experience the story, not told the story (I'd like to have the details and envision it rather then have a "then this happened and that happened and she said this" type of style) which is not a bad choice for the targeted age group, so I understand the reason for that choice.
With all of that being said, however, I don't know that I will be seeking out the more traditional version. I'm happy with knowing the over all story, knowing that Oliver is at least okay and moving on. The sad part is, I don't know that I can tell you one thing that turns me off from seeking the classic other then the dark road the story takes, getting darker the further in you get (he did do a great job of making the progression a journey), but I just can't say I'm much more then indifferent to it.
What do I rate this book?
I give this book
2.5 portraits out of 5!
Well, that's what I thought about this orphan's story, what did you think about it? Do you agree with me? Do you feel that I miss something? Let me know in the comments!