Woohoo! I finally read Oliver Twist! I think it's odd that I've read so much of Dickens, but never this one. I started it at the beginning of last summer and absolutely could not get in to it, so I quit reading it. I was disappointed, because up until then I'd loved every Dickens' novel I'd read. But it was just so preachy and depressing. I think it was just the wrong time of year or I was in the wrong frame of mind. Stefanie at So Many Books recently posted about if there's a right place to read and the discussion veered toward if there's a right mindset or timeframe to read too. I think Oliver Twist is a winter book, and I simply picked it up at the wrong time.
This time around, I loved it! Yes, it was still a bit preachy, this is Dickens after all, but it didn't bother me. And the characters! Characters are why I love Dickens so much. The first time around, Oliver was just too perfect and honestly a little annoying, but this time I liked him more. The villains are all beautifully written, as is Nancy. I'm glad to finally know who Sikes and Fagin and the Artful Dodger are. You hear their names so often, so it's nice to finally "meet" them.
I felt like this story was more tightly written than other Dickens' works, except for maybe Great Expectations. There seemed to be more of a direction from the beginning, without the sideways rambles that tend to happen in the longer works. That made for a much faster read. Also, Dickens used the phrase "stupid-head" at one point, which was hilarious and awesome.
Seriously, I wanted to strangle Nancy. I loved the way Dickens wrote her, and it was probably more realistic to give her the ending she got, but I hated that she didn't leave when she had the chance! I have never been able to understand women who stay in abusive relationships. I don't think I ever will. I don't blame the victim, but at the same time, she walked in to her own death. She knew it was dangerous to go back and talked about her death so much she had to suspect it was coming, so she is partially responsible for what happens to her. The other thing that really bugged me was the death of the dog. So unnecessary! Dickens spares him from Sikes, then has him jump to his own death!!! Why??? We got the same point from Nancy's death, we didn't need the poor dog to die so horribly!
While Bleak House remains my favorite Dickens' novel so far, I definitely recommend Oliver Twist! This is my second post in celebration of Charles Dickens Month hosted by Amanda at Fig and Thistle. You can read my first post on the Charles Dickens Museum.