Hi everyone I hope you’re all well and that you’re managing to stay warm this winter. I’m sharing another festive-themed book review and today it’s the quintessential Christmas ghost story, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens was first published in December 1843 by Chapman and Hall and (my copy) is 127 pages (page length varies depending on edition).
This book has been adapted for stage and screen countless times (The Muppets Christmas Carol is one of my favourite movies of all time!), and its popularity over the years has remained constant.
Ebenezer Scrooge is a very miserly and mean old man who hates Christmas and everything associated with it. One Christmas Eve, he is visited by the ghost of his dead business partner, Jacob Marley, who shows up to warn him that he will be visited by three spirits – the Ghosts of Christmases Past, Present, and Yet to Come.
In turn, the three spirits arrive and take Scrooge on a journey to visit pivotal moments in his life so that he can learn from his mistakes and mend his ways.
Ebenezer Scrooge is a man who, at the start of the story, cares only about himself and his money. He has become bitter through the years, his heart now cold. But throughout the story, we learn why he is the way he is.
Bob Cratchit is Scrooge’s timid long-suffering clerk who would sooner warm his hands with a candle than complain to his boss. He’s a very kind man, and we see this in how he interacts with his family and even in the way he toasts Scrooge even though Scrooge won’t even pay him a fair wage.
Bob and the rest of the Cratchit family are very close-knit and appear happy even though they live in poverty. Their youngest child, Tiny Tim, is sickly though still very much joyful, and as the story progresses, it’s him that I find myself rooting for most.
My favourite characters are the Ghosts. Usually, in a ghost story, the spirits are meant to frighten, but with A Christmas Carol, it’s a bit different. None of the ghosts actually mean Scrooge any harm. They only want to guide him and help him learn about himself. Even the ghost of Jacob Marley, who comes to warn Scrooge of the three Ghosts’ visits is only trying to help him (though Scrooge is fearful of him at first).
My first memories of A Christmas Carol are from when I was small. My parents would read it to me at bedtime around the Christmas season, and I was always captivated by the magic of the story and the characters. Growing older, I’ve come to appreciate the story on different levels. While at first glance it may seem (especially to a five-year-old) to be a marvellous story about Christmas, it’s actually deftly woven social commentary about the state of the country – and in particular, London – at the time Dickens wrote the book. In his writing, he addresses poverty and class division, subtly weaving it all with brilliant storytelling.
As you read the book, you are transported to Victorian London, and In fact, whenever I think of the victorian period, I picture the image my mind creates of London in A Christmas Carol. I believe this is because Dickens was merely showing us the world precisely as he saw it, relaying it perfectly.
It feels, at least to me, that this story was written with great passion, and I believe because of this, the message Dickens wanted to relay with the tale is clear, and that is, he hoped people would learn that it’s never too late to change and that kindness costs nothing but is worth everything. A message, I might add, that is still very much relevant today.
I pick up A Christmas Carol just about once a year. I love it and never get bored of reading it. It gives me great comfort and a sense of nostalgia, reminding me of my late parents and my own childhood Christmases.
It is truly a classic, and if you’ve never read it (where’ve you been?!) and you’re looking for something festive to read, I would strongly recommend it. It’s heartwarming, and there’s something here for everyone. There’s Christmas, there are the Ghosts, and there’s grit. So grab a copy, a nice warm drink and a blanket and get stuck in. You won’t be disappointed.
I give A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens full marks. Definitely 10 out of 10.
Have you read A Christmas Carol or watched any of the movies or plays? What did you think?
As always, thank you for reading my review I really appreciate it.
Until next time,
© 2022 GLT