Friday, 5 January 2018

Book Review: A Christmas Carol and Other Christmas Writings by Charles Dickens

A classic Christmas tale, Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol tells the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, a miserable old man, who is visited by his deceased business partner and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come one Christmas Eve. Their intention is to help Scrooge realise the error in his ways and to help his transform into a better person.

“There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humour.”

Everyone knows the story of A Christmas Carol – the story has been adapted numerous times and these movies are watched by a lot of people each Christmas. Admittedly, A Christmas Carol was never my favourite Christmas movie, I think I watched it once as a child and just didn’t “get it”. So I thought it was time to read the story instead, and safe to say, I really enjoyed it. I even went on to watch A Muppet’s Christmas Carol after with a renewed interest in it and have a feeling I’ll now revisit it annually.

It’s a great book to get yourself into the Christmas spirit, Dickens really excels at creating that atmosphere and the way you feel around the festive period. Scrooge’s character development and overall tale of redemption is well-executed and he becomes pretty likeable by the end. I love how it really represents what Christmas is all about – showing empathy and generosity and generally trying to be a better human. Well, to be honest, that’s how we should be all year around! But we all know Christmas is the time that people do show extra compassion towards each other. So, yeah, I really enjoyed A Christmas Carol and would give it 4 stars.

Dickens is known for being “wordy”, but thankfully A Christmas Carol does not fall victim to this. However, the same cannot be said for the other stories and essays found within this edition. Oh my godddddd, some of them just went on forever and it felt like Dickens was just babbling about a lot of nonsense. My eyes were glazing over and I sincerely regretted not just buying the novella on its own! Some of the other stories WERE enjoyable though, such as The Story of the Goblins who Stole A Sexton. However, the worst for me was The Haunted Man – actually longer than A Christmas Carol, it had me skimming through parts in sheer boredom. The stories almost felt repetitive at times, as if Dickens was trying to hammer home the same idea over and over again. Some kind of spectral being appears and makes you realise what Christmas is really all about… I got it! So that’s why I’ve rounded down the overall rating to 3 stars.


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