My name is Oliver Twist. I was born in a Bleak House, alongside my twin brother Nicholas Nickleby. Even though I was born a poor orphan, I grew to be a young man with Great Expectations. My old nanny Little Dorrit used to tell me A Tale of Two Cities at night, and my uncle David Copperfield would rush me to work at day. He works at The Old Curiosity Shop and always carries The Pickwick Papers wherever he goes. Even though I have Hard Times all my life, Uncle David’s friend Martin Chuzzlewit would always entertain me with his telling of The Mystery of Edwin Drood. He works in a place called Dombey and Son with another friend of Uncle David’s, Barnaby Rudge. My brother Nicholas plays all the time with Mr. Chuzzlewit too, so I guess he is Our Mutual Friend.
That was just a paragraph I made up from the titles of some novels by Charles Dickens. My own history with Charles Dickens went like this:
I read the simplified version of Bleak House,
I read A Tale of Two Cities,
I watched the miniseries of Little Dorrit (and written a review in Bahasa here),
I watched the miniseries of Great Expectations (and written a review in Bahasa here),
I watched Nicholas Nickleby,
I read A Christmas Carol,
I watched the animated version of A Christmas Carol,
I am now reading Great Expectations for Celebrating Dickens event;
And if I have extra time this month I will read Oliver Twist as well.
That is so awfully short, isn’t it? I intend to lengthen the list in the coming years.
But wait, I have something to say to Mr. Dickens.
In spite of making me dizzy with your wordy writings, Mr. Dickens, I found that reading your works is quite enjoyable. I love how you made stories, how you named your characters, how you made them so wonderfully colorful. I particularly love how you shed some light in the bleakness and poverty of London in your stories that made them lovable. My favorite so far is A Tale of Two Cities; it kept me guessing and made my heart leapt with its surprises. How on earth did you do that? I mean, Pip and Estella and Miss Havisham and Scrooge and Marley and Oliver Twist and Fagin and Charles Darnay and Sydney Carton and Lady Dedlock and Esther Summerson and Amy Dorrit and Arthur Clennam, all of them still lives until today. Oh, you must have written and written and written day after day because in your relatively short life you produced no less than fifteen novels (and almost all of them are chunksters), a large number of short stories and also works of poetry, plays, collaborations, articles, and essays? This is sick, man.
Just see how Google doodled you for your bicentenary last year:
And now that you still live after 201 years, I salute you. You’re the main reason why I love Victorian era so much. I just wish that more of your books get translated into my mother language, because sometimes it’s really hard to comprehend the sentences in your books. Book publishers in this country must be reminded that you are one of the greatest English writers of all time, and that your works deserve their attention. I know I can’t call myself a Dickensian yet, but for now I settle to be a reader who enjoys your works.
And with this I would like to say to you Happy 201st Birthday, Mr. Dickens! I won’t wish something for you (because you won’t be able to receive anything anyway) but I wish that more people would read your works (that includes me too!)