I haven’t really been feeling the holiday atmosphere this year. Possibly because of quarantine, possibly because of how busy I’ve been, possibly because of a combination of factors I haven’t even considered. But the fact remains that it’s over halfway through December, Christmas is in six days, and 2020 is, at long last, nearly over.
To get myself back into the holiday spirit, today I’m going to be doing a book review of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens– probably the most Christmassy book to ever exist. I’m also going to ask you to ignore the fact that this is the first book review I’ve written in three months, despite the fact that Frappes & Fiction is a book blog (the irony!)
About the Book
Title: A Christmas Carol
Author: Charles Dickens
Genre: classics, holiday, fantasy, Victorian literature
“Christmas is a poor excuse every 25th of December to pick a man’s pockets.”
You likely already know this story from its 26+ (according to Wikipedia) film adaptations, but I’m going to do a little synopsis anyway.
Ebenezer Scrooge is a lonely, irate, and disgruntled old businessman who wants nothing to do with anything other than money…. especially not the dreadful holiday which falls on the 25th of December. He refuses to donate any of his copious wealth to charity, attend any Christmas parties whatsoever, or let his destitute and underpaid employee, Bob Cratchit, off work– even for Christmas Day.
“No warmth could warm, no wintry weather chill him. No wind that blew was bitterer than he, no falling snow was more intent upon its purpose, no pelting rain less open to entreaty.”
Scrooge lives alone in his dark (and predictably haunted) house, even though his former business partner, Marley, died years ago. And he’s perfectly content. After all, he has money- lots of it- and what more could you need?
But on the night of Christmas Eve, Scrooge is visited by Marley’s ghost, who shows up in his doorknob and pleasantly informs him that he’ll be forced to drag chains around while witnessing the suffering of humanity for all eternity in the afterlife to pay for his selfishness.
The situation seems pretty desperate, but Scrooge still has one shot at redemption; Marley explains that he will be visited by three more ghosts over the course of the night, and if he listens to what they have to say, he might be able to reverse his fate.
This was my first time reading a Charles Dickens book, but it definitely won’t be my last.
I was expecting it to be really hard to get through, because novels from this time period are usually difficult for me to read and consequently rather dry. I was wrong; I finished this (albeit short) book in one morning and was not bored at all.
The writing was a little long-winded at times, but the story was easy to follow because I’ve seen so many adaptations, and the book was pretty short anyway. And I loved discovering the plot points and character development that is absent from, say, Mickey’s Christmas Carol. There were several scenes that surprised me because they weren’t in any adaptation I’ve seen.
The most standout aspect of the book for me was the clear moral, which brought up interesting, if well-worn points about wealth, and the problems that arise when you care too much about money. I loved the characterization of Scrooge and all of the tongue-in-cheek descriptions of his attitude because it emphasized this theme while retaining the light-hearted holiday atmosphere.
I also loved the writing style. It was really clever, and- to my slight surprise- dripping in sarcasm. I frequently found myself highlighting passages on my Kindle. (Another indicator that I liked a book: if I am tempted to insert multiple quotes from it in my review)
I also enjoyed reading the descriptions of Victorian England; I’m very interested in history, as is evident from this blog, and it was pretty intriguing to read descriptions of 19th century England from a book written in 19th century England– if that even makes sense.
Overall, A Christmas Carol is a story fairly ingrained in popular culture, with a moral that is timeless. Isn’t that the definition of a classic, after all?
I’d recommend this book to pretty much everyone, especially if you are interested in reading more “classics”. Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, the lesson of the book is still valuable, despite being slightly didactic.
Have you read A Christmas Carol? What is your favorite book by Charles Dickens?
Thanks for reading my blog, and happy holidays!
I’m sorry today was such a short review… if you’re new here, my reviews are usually a lot longer and more in-depth, but I was a little pressed for time this weekend. It’s almost winter beak for me, though, which means I may finally get back to a regular posting schedule!