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A Christmas Carol (Dover Thrift Editions) Paperback – Unabridged, June 1, 1991
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Top Customer Reviews
read by Jim Dale
I once heard it said that to appreciate Dickens best, one should read his stories aloud. I have never had the time to try to do this, but having just listened to a new unabridged reading of A Christmas Carol from Random House, I can see the validity of the statement. Playing the CD's I felt as if the narrator was, in the words of Dickens himself, "standing in the spirit at your elbow."
And what a narrator! The multi-talented Jim Dale reads the story...no, that is not correct...Jim Dale PERFORMS the story. I counted 42 voices in the three-hour recording. Jim Dale is well known for his over 200 voices (and counting) bringing to life all of the characters in the Harry Potter books, which he also records for Random House's Listening Library.
I first saw Jim Dale in the 1977 Disney movie Pete's Dragon where he played the bumbling villain. The next year he played three hilarious characters in another Disney film, Hot Lead and Cold Feet. I was lucky to see him in two musicals on Broadway, in Barnum, and Me and My Girl. Both very memorable performances. I plan to see him next month as he sings and dances Scrooge in Madison Square Garden's Christmas Carol - The Musical. I figure if he is great in the audiobook, he will be even better on stage. An actor has only two tools...his voice and his body. In the audiobooks, of course, only the voice can be used.
And Dale's voice talents are well showcased here. I often found myself laughing out loud, thanks to the combined genius of Dickens and Dale. In a couple of cases, the genius is pure Dale. At one point he adds a bit of a dog's panting that really cracked me up.
I have seen and/or heard other wonderful actors do one-man renditions of A Christmas Carol.Read more ›
As to the story itself: I doubt there's an english-speaking child who doesn't have at least some familiarity with some version of it; I think every saturday morning cartoon series ever did some version, and every other sitcom. This is the original novella that inspired all those adaptations.
That's the biggest hurdle when reading this: it may be hard for some readers to get past having heard some version or other of Tiny Tim shouting out "God Bless Us, Every One" in five hundred different ways every year of their lives, and some readers might find parts of the story hackneyed in the same way that other Christmas classics have become overplayed (anyone who's worked in a mall during the Christmas seasons will know what I'm talking about).
Despite that, though, this is still a classic story, and readers who can get themselves past that hurdle will be richly rewarded. There's a powerfully archetypal story here, and one that still managed to tug at even my cynical heartstrings, even as overexposed as I've been to endless re-adaptations; I suspect it will do the same for most other readers as well, as long as they're willing to let it.Read more ›
One of the great strengths of "A Christmas Carol" is that it can be presented in many different ways and appeal to a variety of people at many ages. I've seen and listened to, live or recorded, Owens, Sims, Barrymore, Stewart and even Mr. Magoo perform this story but I knew Mr. Dale could bring something new to it.
I'd forgotten that Crachit had no topcoat and Scrooge's niece had kissable lips. I'd lost the memory of Scrooge trying to put out the light of the Ghost of Christmas Past and was glad to be reminded of all of the descriptions of food that Dickens layers throughout the book. I love listening to the English phrases and words that had slipped from our common usage. When I was young I thought the Ghost of Christmas Future was not much of a threat, but now, deep into middle age and a cancer survivor, I see that hooded figure quite differently.
It's a wonderful story, told with a fresh view from a beloved voice. What a great Christmas present!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I reread this every Christmas time to remind me of the Christmas spirit that should reside in all of us.Published 1 month ago by gogo
We all know the story. We've all seen at least 3 versions in movie form (the Alastair Sim version from 1951 is clearly the best). Read morePublished 1 month ago by vinmoet