I’m bringing back my review from last December of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens – for those of you looking for some suitably festive reading!
Rating: 4 stars
Synopsis: Let’s be honest – everyone knows the story, even if it is just the Muppets version! Ebenezer Scrooge is a miserable, greedy businessman possessing a deep hatred of Christmas. We also meet Scrooge’s poor clerk Bob Cratchett, struggling to care for a downtrodden but wonderfully lively family. On the night before Christmas, Scrooge is visited by the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future. All seem determined to make the bitter old miser change his ways.
A Christmas Carol was my book club’s Christmas bonus book. Although I already knew the story from animated TV versions, I had never read the book and I was to be pleasantly surprised! I would recommend it even if you are familiar with the classic Christmas tale; it is well worth a read for Dickens’ magical storytelling.
When I started A Christmas Carol I was expecting a wade through long-winded descriptive passages, but the book is incredibly readable. It would be fantastic for someone who is keen on getting into the classics but is a little unsure. The book itself is very short (only around 100 pages) so the action is fast-paced and consistently engaging. Ghost 1, Ghost 2, Ghost 3 – done!
Scrooge’s transformation into an entirely new person so quickly may push the limits of believability – but then, so do the ghosts in his bedroom so realism probably wasn’t top of Dickens’ list! I particularly loved the characters of Bob Cratchett and his family – Dickens conjures a delightfully warm and atmospheric image of their home.
In the Kindle edition that I read, there was a short summary of the life of Charles’ Dickens which made the book more poignant. I did not realise that his father went to debtors’ prison when Charles was only twelve, meaning he had to seek factory work to support his family. Placing A Christmas Carol’s messages about poverty in this context is certainly very powerful.
The story puts across strong messages about gratitude and compassion, but it is not moralistic in a heavy-handed way; in fact, the tone feels light and almost playful.
In short, I can’t think of a better book for getting in the festive spirit!
“This is the even-handed dealing of the world!” he said. “There is nothing on which it is so hard as poverty; and there is nothing it professes to condemn with such severity as the pursuit of wealth!”
Read if: you’re looking for a heart-warming festive tale.
Cover image courtesy of Goodreads.