Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
A classic re-read.
Before reading this, I was filled with some trepidation but more wonder, on the whole. I grew up watching the classic movie and have been known to imitate little Oliver's classic line in the food line when folks feed me. Of course, I never had that course of handkerchief education, so the parallels aren't quite one-to-one and I never had a *spoiler* leave me *spoiler spoilered* before trying to set me up to *spoiler*.
Suffice to say, Dickens is one hell of a plot-master and on a pure entertainment level, this one is one of his very best. Of course, if I would drag out my English Lit social-progressive persona, I'd spend 5-6 pages on how this particular novel outraged the sensibilities of England and put into motion a ton of reforms to help the poor and the abused.
This IS a pure Progressive novel. That doesn't mean that justice is weak. It really isn't. It just means that we MUST focus on fixing these social ills or the whole structure will collapse.
The math person in me would call on Game Theory and show how this novel was ALL about the nastiness of the Defector way of life, how the Cooperators suffered in it, and how everything else was a horrible mish-mash of game strategies that *sometimes* inches closer to a positive outcome. Dickens gets away with this not being a dystopia only because he DOES have a moral bone in his body and he puts it right in his plot.
Great novel, all told. :) Stark, descriptive, and full of twists. :)
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