Sunday, January 10, 2010

Two by Dickens

Only a week into the new year and I'm already behind on book reviews!* Here are two that I started in December but didn't finish until recently.

Oliver Twist

I watched the musical “Oliver!” about four hundred times on HBO when I was a kid, and the entire way through this novel I could picture the related part in the movie or I’d think to myself “Oh, this is where they sang ‘You’ve Got to Pick a Pocket or Two’!” This story of an orphan who is taken in by a band of thieves and has a great deal of difficulty getting free of them is quite dark. But like the cheery musical tie-in in my head it at least has a happy ending.

As I expected, the plot is much more complicated than in the movie, and there are many more colorful, amusing characters. The edition that I read had illustrations sprinkled throughout, like many Dickens works, and I’m really starting to believe that more adult novels should be illustrated. Why should kids have all the fun?

It took me about 3 weeks to read, but I did really like it. The Dickens experience is weird for me – the enjoyment is all in the reading of it, and few of the details really stick with me for very long. I loved Great Expectations but I can’t remember much about it now. I only remember how much I enjoyed reading it. I guess it's because what I enjoy most about his work is his writing style and his sense of humor, not the plots (though they are good too!)

A Christmas Carol

Always a great story, this particular edition of A Christmas Carol was extra special because of the beautiful illustrations by Roberto Innocenti. I found it in the children’s section of the library, but it’s the full story, just with pictures. It seems more appropriate for adults really, but what do I know? I didn’t even read it until after Christmas but enjoyed it a great deal. This is an edition that would definitely be worth owning.

*I've decided to try and review every book that I read this year.

1 comment:

Kevin said...

I could never bring myself to finish Oliver Twist. Like you I love Great Expectations--which along with David Copperfield may be my favorite.

I know it's not hip to like David Copperfield--to be a cool Dickensian you're supposed to be all about Bleak House or Our Mutual Friend.

I should add that I loved Our Mutual Friend when I read it, but I don't remember that much of it.