Friday, December 24, 2010

A Christmas Carol - Book Review

Even though I've seen a multitude of A Christmas Carol movies...from Disney to George C. Scott to Bill Murray and all the others in between, I had never read the Dickens original. 
I decided this Christmas would be the year.
Following the suggestion of a Read Along over at Dog Eared and Bookmarked I decided to read 1 Stave each day.
Now, I'm embarrassed to admit that my copy of A Christmas Carol has been on my bookshelves in my den for years.  As a matter of fact, I cannot remember when I first purchased it.  The book jacket is even gone.  I actually didn't even realize how short A Christmas Carol copy has other stories in it as well...which I discovered only after I started reading Stave 2 and wondered what all the other chapters in the book would contain.
Remember, I told you I'm a doofus Ph.D.

When I began Stave 1 I thought the Dickens experience might be similar to that feeling I get when I've already seen the movie and I'm trying to read the book.
You know, that "Why am I reading this; I already know what's gonna happen?" feeling??

That only lasted for a line or two, and then I became totally immersed in the language and the description so eloquently used by Dickens to literally paint a picture with his words.

The obvious moral dilemmas are there and the lessons learned...most everyone knows the story...greed, family, loneliness, etc. etc. etc.
but Dickens doesn't preach or really even teach...the story is the the original Scrooge doesn't have quite as hard of a heart as he is portrayed in the movie versions.  He doesn't have to be "convinced" that his life is a mess...he seems to already know that. 
There are also some very real reasons for Scrooge to have turned out the way he is...very realistic to me for someone who suffers loss early in life to become hardhearted and defensive later. 

The one thing that I didn't expect was my response to the others in the story...those who Scrooge was mean to...they were mean too...they made fun of him, hated him, wished horrible things upon him...etc.  I don't remember noticing this as much in the movie versions.
I don't know if Dickens meant for the reader to notice this or not, but it sure made an impression on me...namely that you never really know why people act the way the do and that other people's actions, no matter how hateful, are never justification for us to act in a vindictive manner.

I will definitely read more Dickens...I felt as if I was in old London...I felt the chill of winter and could see the snow, the darkness of the night and Christmas through the eyes of a different generation...not so unlike our own.

My firstborn is reading this tonight, and I think we'll make it a tradition from now on.
We've been snowed in so to speak by illness, but for some reason I don't feel unhappy.  We've been able to be together more than we have in many Christmases that I can remember.  The illnesses have enabled me to spend quality time with whoever has been well at different times.  Does that even make sense??  No fighting over who gets to wrap what and who gets to run the mixer.  The illnesses have also forced me to rely on my older girls to get things done...I think responsibility has made them feel more of an ownership of our family's Christmas and that's a good thing.

The Head of My Household is out now trying to find meds for our youngest who is suffering from severe nausea and dizziness caused by Tamiflu which she needs to take...if I can get her some relief, I think this may be our best Christmas yet :)

Peace and joy to all of you on this blessed holiday :)


  1. I've never read A Christmas Carol, either - for the same reasons as you. But I might have to remedy that because this sounds much more different than the movie.

    Hope you have a wonderful Christmas, one where everyone is feeling better soon!

  2. I wish this one would have worked for me. I just couldn't get into the language!