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A Christmas Carol Paperback – November 28, 2014
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Top Customer Reviews
The illustrations throughout the book were fun to look at. Not common to find illustrations in books today unless they are children stories.
Lots of great quotes come from this story but the most famous is BAH! HUMBUG! followed by:
"God bless Us, Every One!"
Scrooge is... well, a scrooge -- a professional miser who hates Christmas, goodwill, charity, puppies, kittens, his relatives, his employees, and virtually everything else except money.
And on Christmas Eve, his dead partner Jacob Marley comes back, wrapped with supernatural chains, and claims that Scrooge is doomed to the same fate. But he has a chance at redemption: three ghosts representing will visit him that night, taking him on a guided tour of Christmases past, present and yet to come.
So Scrooge is transported on a trio of hourlong trips through time. The childlike Ghost of Christmas Past takes him to his bleak childhood, when he was less jaded and hard. The jolly Ghost of Christmas Present takes him to people's homes on the very next morning, specifically of of his nephew and the poor miner Bob Cratchit. And finally a Ringwraith-like spirit gives him a glimpse of Christmas years in the future... a bleak and terrible future, unless he changes his ways.
You can read plenty of symbolism into a story like "A Christmas Carol"; I've heard speculation about Dickens' father, the Industrial Revolution, spiritualism, and all sorts of other stuff. But at its heart, "A Christmas Carol" is the most powerful when appreciated for its story alone -- a story about a greedy, miserable man who redeems himself by learning to love all humanity.
Dickens' writing is utterly brilliant here. Most of the book is bleak, grimy and painted in shadows, with Dickens only rarely holding back from showing the dark situation of England's poor. A great example is the symbolic children Want and Ignorance ("a stale and shrivelled hand, like that of age, had pinched, and twisted them, and pulled them into shreds"). As for the Grim-Reaperlike third ghost, it's the stuff of nightmares.
But all isn't dark here. Occasionally Dickens splashes it with moments of crystalline brilliance ("It held a branch of fresh green holly in its hand; and... its dress trimmed with summer flowers"). And as dark as the book is, Dickens offers hope for the future.
He also does a brilliant job with Scrooge, " a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire." Having worked hard to make us hate Scrooge, Dickens then deftly displays his skill at slowly revealing how Scrooge became who and what he is, and slowly redeeming him.
Charles Dickens created one of the greatest Christmas stories with "A Christmas Carol" -- bah humbugs, merry Christmases and all. God bless us, every one!
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens is always a delight to read. The story is ultimately a happy one and reads very fast. It’s a nice reminder that how one is today is not how one must always be and we can change our future if we don’t like the path we are on. A Christmas Carol is great read-aloud for families at Christmas and any time.