Oliver Twist is the life story of an orphan, who is placed in the care of a parish and spends his formative years devoid of nurture, proper nutrition, and formal instruction/education. From the orphanage , Oliver was sent to a workhouse, where he was deemed a great nuisance, by no fault of his own, and eventually sold to an undertaker. He eventually tries to go out on his own and ends up in the company of a man who wants desperately to train Oliver to become a pick-pocket. Despite seeming to attract deceitful, selfish and abusive caretakers, little Oliver maintains a respectable integrity for his age and, as luck would have it, the boy does stumble into a couple different families who show him mercy and compassion. I noticed early on in the story that small hints are dropped to foreshadow some mystery to come, although for the most part I would deem the story-line to be dramatic and action based, toward the latter portion the suspense increases with each chapter until you hold all the details in your mind like a puzzle, replaying them and examining them, thinking they can't possibly fit together, and yet, in time they do.
It seems as though it would be dreadfully depressing, but the virtue Oliver maintains, the theme of redemption, and the occasional satirical comedic elements keep the experience from being any sort of tear-jerker. I thoroughly enjoyed these audio CDs, they surpassed my expectation.
I will mention that the age suggestion listed on the back cover for the audio CDs is 12+ (Amazon.com listed the print novel as having a reading level of age 18+), and I would strictly enforce that. If your twelve year old is on the sensitive side, make sure you listen to it first. There are some rough portions and topics brought up: death, abuse of all varieties, drunkenness, stealing, lying, even murder. There are also some beautiful examples of generosity and charity. I would recommend this for families with older kids to listen to together and have some great discussions about serious topics, or for anyone (12+) to enjoy this timeless classic being played out in your mind's eye (your imagination) as you listen to the wonderful performances put together by Focus on the Family's Radio Theatre.
In the interest of full disclosure, I received a complimentary copy of this media from Tyndale House Publishers for the purpose of reviewing. I was not obligated to provide a positive review, the opinions are my own.