I received a free copy of Fagin’s Boy from Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for my honest review.
About the Book:
About the Author:
I have not read Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens – I have read Dickens and I feel that knowing his style and a bit about him and more importantly the times in which he wrote helped considerably with the understanding of this book. I know enough about the story of Oliver to keep up with Ms. Pilz’s narrative but what I think is more important is the knowledge of the social structures of England in the Victorian Era. These mores are a character in Fagin’s Boy as they were most certainly in Dickens’ books. It was a time when orphans and the poor were treated as little more than detritus to be swept away. So in not having read Oliver Twist I do know that it has very little to do with the happy play and movie that is Oliver! Dickens allows for redemption but he shows the ugly side of humanity first.
Now on to the brilliant Fagin’s Boy. Ms. Pilz manages to maintain Dickens’ style yet make this book all her own. Oliver has been living quite happily with his “Uncle” Brownlow and has been living the life of a princeling as he calls it. A room all his own, all the books he can read, enough food to eat and love. But Uncle Brownlow dies and leaves Oliver in the care of man who doesn’t see what Oliver has become only what he used to be and never fails to tell anyone who will listen what an awful child he is. Oliver wants only to escape, live long enough to get his inheritance from his father and open a bookstore. With the help of some friends of his Uncle he is given a marvelous opportunity – an apprenticeship at a haberdashery. He resolves to make the best of it and learn all he can for his future shop.
Yet in the midst of all of this upheaval in his life a bit of his past returns to haunt him; Jack, the Artful Dodger, from Fagin’s gang returns and finds him. The last thing Oliver wants or needs is this reminder of what he was but something about Jack keeps pulling him in. Could it be that Jack was the only member of the gang who ever showed him the slightest bit of care? But Jack threatens his new life and his plans every time he appears in Oliver’s life and he won’t listen to Oliver – even when threats are made to call the Constables. Oliver suffers due to Jack’s visits and he can’t understand his inability to turn him in or his desire to keep his presence a secret.
This is an amazing book. If you have read any Dickens you will understand when I write that it carries the weight of the world and you feel it as you are reading it. It is not a happy book or always an easy book to read but the same can be said of any book covering subject matters such as the abuse of young orphans. It is true to the time in which it takes place. I had a very hard time putting it down once I started reading it and you can see that it is not a short tome. Ms. Pilz transported me to the poor underside of Victorian England with all of the dirt and stink that that entails. She continues Oliver’s story yet takes it to a place that I doubt anyone would have expected. I read through the 624 pages and I was disappointed that it was over – despite the darkness and sometimes overwhelming oppression. Ms. Pilz has continued a masterpiece with another.
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