A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens

Posted 21 December, 2012 by Trish in Reading Nook, Review / 15 Comments

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Title: A Christmas Carol
Author: Charles Dickens
Narrator: Tim Curry
Published: 1843 Pages: ? like 100 clicks on e-reader
Audio Duration: 3 hours; 33 min.
Genre: Classic, Fiction
So remember two weeks ago when I told you about my Holiday Reading Escape? In which I would drink lovely hot cocoa whilst reading A Christmas Carol? Well, I finished half of that reading escape! And I’m not sure I’d entirely call it an escape because parts were listened to in my car while driving to and from work. But I did read much of it on the kindle (mostly in bed, once on the exercise bike), and it was lovely.

What’s even better is that there is a readalong of A Christmas Carol happening today over at Beauty is a Sleeping Cat and Postcards from Asia! Me likey. I’m short on time and posting this at lunch rather than my normal scheduled midnight time, so I’m using the prompts Caroline and Delia provided us. Mostly.

A Christmas Carol In Short: Ebeneezer Scrooge is visited by three spirits–one to show him his past, one the present, and one the future.

Is this the first time you are reading the story?

In full, yes. I’ve read the dramatized one several times–enough that I actually thought that this book was originally dramatized. So sad, huh? I have seen enough movie versions and plays that I am quite familiar with the story.

Did you like it?
I did like it and I can see myself reading it again and again! My only complaint is that I felt it ended too abruptly. I don’t want to play the cynic at Christmas time, but can Scrooge really do a complete 180 after one night of spiritual visitors? I guess since it’s Christmas we’ll pretend he can.

Which was your most memorable scene? (replaces favorite and least favorite original questions)
The scene that struck me the most was when two children peered out from underneath the Ghost of Christmas Present’s robes. They were Ignorance and Want and the Ghost warned of the prevalence of these. Isn’t it amazing how this still rings true 169 years after Dickens originally published the story? Dickens tells us “Beware of them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware of this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is ‘Doom,’ unless the writing be erased.”

Which spirit and his stories did you find the most interesting?
All of the stories are interesting–We forget how much our actions and words affect other people, or at least I know I do. In this story we see how the past shapes the present which shapes the future and while hindsight can be 20/20, it’s difficult to foresee how what we do now or what we have done will pave the way for tomorrow.

How did you like the end? Did you think it was believable?
I’ve already discussed this above. It’s a nice and cheery ending with a lot of hope. I don’t think it’s necessarily believable but it’s nice to believe it’s believable, huh?

Do you know anyone like Scrooge? Did Scrooge deserve to be saved?
I think it’s easy to fall into patterns of short-sightedness like Scrooge is prone to. Luckily I don’t know anyone exactly like Scrooge, but I certainly think we can all try a little harder to open our hearts and eyes. In terms of whether I think that Scrooge deserved to be saved–yes, I believe that everyone deserves to be saved as long as they will continue to uphold their end of the bargain. Or perhaps the hard work should come before the saving. Certainly I don’t want to get into preaching as I don’t believe in literal soul saving, but I firmly believe that we choose our own paths.

Bottom Line: A Christmas Carol is a timeless tale that is too short not to read. I think I’ll make this a holiday tradition as the message is truly timeless.

A Note on the Audio: I got all excited when I saw that Tim Curry was the narrator for the Audible edition of A Christmas Carol. But I ended up having mixed feelings–at times his voice inflections for the characters were spot on and perfect–but at others it was too caricaturized and I found it distracting. Eh. Listen to a sample if you’re interested. I bought this via an Audible sale and I’d listen again but wish that I hadn’t jumped too quickly.

Have you read A Christmas Carol?  Or seen an adaptation? What is the most memorable part of the story for you?

15 Responses to “A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens”

  1. I just finished listening to the same version :-) I thought that the narration was fantastic though, really brought the story to life for me. I didn’t expect to like it but really did. I had tears in my eyes during some parts!

  2. Hi Trish,
    I enjoyed reading all of your answers and I am curious about the audio version. Actually I have a confession to make: I’ve never listened to an audio book before! Shocking, eh? :)
    Thanks for joining us for this read-along.
    You have a beautiful blog, I’ll come back again soon.

  3. Jason and I read this together a few years ago and really liked it. I think I may have said something like ‘it’s too short not to read’ too! Still my only Dickens but there will be more someday.
    Elle is such a cutie. We have constant motion here too. You’d think I’d be thinner!

  4. Being such a short book you could be forgiven for thinking we’d probably all share the same answers but in actual fact they’re all so different and interesting to read. It shows how much the book has touched us. The scene with the two children is an excellent choice. It’s one of those chilling scenes with a message that still remains relevant and I think that is the other thing about this book. It really is timeless.
    Lynn :D

  5. It certainly is timeless and much of the story still applies today.
    I just came back from Christmas shopping and Ingnorance and Want were everywhere. People push you aside brutally just to get something before you. How can this lead to a peaceful and joyful experience.
    The chnage is very quick but it’s a Chritsmas story. I need to see though whether these quick changes are not a trademark of Dickens’ writing. I felt that in Great Expectations they ahppened very quickly too.
    I should try an audio version once. I think someone else listened to the Tim Curry version and got a long a bit better with it. I need to listen to a sample.
    Thanks for joining us, Trish.

  6. I read it for the first time in English a few years ago and absolutely loved it. I have an illustrated edition by Robert Ingpen and I love paging through around Christmas time!

  7. We just watched Scrooged last night but my favorite Ebenezer is Patrick Stewart – his transformation is the best and most believable but yea, I wonder, too. How can one night of ghosts scare you that much into being a nice guy?
    But ya know what? PIE FIXES EVERYTHING. :)

  8. Joy

    I watched Scrooged last night, too. Not my favorite version of the story, as it turns out. I’m actually kind of partial to Scrooge McDuck.

    The last time I read A Christmas Carol I thought how much fun it would be to read it aloud in group setting, taking turns, or assigning different people to different characters. I don’t know enough people who would enjoy that to make it happen, but I still think it’s a fun idea.

    Joy’s Book Blog

  9. All these years and I still haven’t read this one either! And I do actually like Dickens’ writing too…Next Christmas I’ll have to read it!

  10. I don’t want to play the cynic at Christmas time, but can Scrooge really do a complete 180 after one night of spiritual visitors?

    Haha! Your issue is that Scrooge’s redemption was too quick in a story in which he’s visited by four dead souls who can travel through time. You are awesome, Trish.

    Btw, I read this book back in 2008. Loved it.


  11. My mother read the story to my sister and myself when I was probably about 10 (which would make it 1953). Since then I have read it, seen several movie versions, and many stage versions (I saw 3 this year alone, as I am a theater critic), including one my kids were in about 30 years ago, when 3 of my sons played Scrooge at three ages and the fourth was Tiny Tim.

    I love the story. I love the scenes in Scrooge’s past and how he realizes what a difference, for example, Fezziwig’s attitude made toward him as an employee. And of course, I love little Tiny Tim. Not too fond of the Ghost of Christmas yet to come scenes.

    I don’t know if you noticed Dickens’ ERROR in the text. He explains that the ghosts will appear at 1 a.m. on 3 successive nights, but, of course, they come at 3 successive hours and do the deed all in one night so Scrooge doesn’t miss Christmas.

    I always cry, sensitive soul that I am, when Scrooge throws open the window and asks the boy about the big turkey and has it delivered to the Cratchitts.