Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
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Oliver Twist, a young boy born into poverty, is raised in a workhouse in the fictional English town of Mudfog. Oliver, along with the other boys, is malnourished and overworked, and after a series of misfortune escapes to London in search of a better life.
There, he meets a fateful accomplice, Jack Dawkins, and persuades him to work for the infamous criminal Fagin. Oliver falls in with the group of thieves and scoundrels and suffers mishap after mishap, but never loses hope that redemption is never too far off.
Dickens drew from his own childhood experiences in writing Oliver Twist, including two years of employment at a workhouse at the age of twelve.