READER REPORT:

A rich but long-winded classic

JOHN RUSHWORTH
Last updated 05:00 11/11/2012
twist
CAN'T BEAT A CLASSIC: An illustration from a first edition copy of Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist.

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I've just finished reading Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist aloud to my nine-year-old daughter.

We both really enjoyed it but there were a lot of words that I didn't know, and even more that my daughter did not understand. Several times we would both get twisted and muddled inside the complicated and convoluted sentence construction.

At one point, after reading for half a page and not coming to a full stop, I realised that we were both totally lost and there was nothing else to do but make a run for the next paragraph and start again.

I had forgotten how much irony and satire it had. I'd also forgotten how much fun the characters are.

The 'good' people (Mr Brownlow, Rose, etc) are thinly drawn but the villains (Bill Sykes, Fagin, Nancy, etc) are great!

The bitter-sweet enjoyment of Mr Bumble's relationship with Mrs Corney was so delightful; it has me smiling now just thinking about those two pompous bullies falling over themselves to get into a relationship that effectively destroyed them both.

"If that's the eye of the law, the law is a bachelor; and the worst I wish the law is, that his eye may be opened by experience — by experience."

OK, so it's a little long-winded and circuitous, but it's rich. Can't go wrong with the classics. 


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