Susan Wise Bauer gives us all sorts of fabulous tips on how to read in The Well-Educated Mind. She does not, however specifically address how to tackle Oliver Twist and it seems that some readers are struggling with drudgery, sarcasm, and dismal nature of this novel. I, however, am eating it up. While this probably speaks mostly to my disturbed personality I am channeling that dark enjoyment into a few handy tips.
Ignore reality. Pretend like the 19th century England that Dickens illustrates is as fictitious as Bromdingnag and Laputa.
Imagine all characters as cartoons. Add animated gags and tricks, including “Pow!” graphics, tweeting birds flying in circles around people’s heads, and characters that disappear when they turn sideways because they’re so underfed.
Concentrate on the writing, rather than the plot. Dickens crafts some gorgeous sentences. Much better than these. With verbs and everything. Admire the craft.
Think about all the good that was accomplished by this writing, about how this scathing exposition on society helped to reform and provide aid to those in need. Warning: This tip does not work in conjunction with Tip I, so use it judiciously, and only when you are already in a state of melancholy.
Buy into the sarcasm. Laugh at it. Work it into your conversations. Maybe even your blog post. Of course, I would never do such a thing.