Simon's Bookcase

Reviews from Lord Taylor of Glencoe

A Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol: Charles Dickens, December 18—23, 2014
My rating: ♦♦♦♦◊

710b01091d362d03a61b4e65ecbaed85Charles Dickens’ famous festive favourite, A Christmas Carol, is the timeless tale of miserly Ebenezer Scrooge being visited by the Ghosts of Christmases Past, Present and Yet To Come who urge him to change his selfish ways. It is difficult to review the original piece without considering the many derivatives it spawned, but its legacy only proves its standard.

Scrooge truly is everything he comes to represent. He begrudges his poor clerk Bob Cratchit heating in the winter, let alone a paid holiday on Christmas Day. He also shuns his nephew’s annual invitation to Christmas dinner.

Very much a character piece, A Christmas Carol seeks to explore what created Scrooge’s self-centred tendencies, how he is viewed by those around him and where he is ultimately headed. The development of the character is marked, but somewhat rushed. Though not surprising that he would beg to see some tenderness connected to his death, the transformation is unsatisfying in its sudden totality.

Bob and his family – most notably Tiny Tim – are the most prominent secondary characters after the Ghosts themselves. Everyone other than Scrooge fills a somewhat symbolic role and it might have been nice to see some of these parts expanded to allow us to get to know them a bit.

What Dickens does very well is tell the story. He fully embraces his role as Narrator, and colourfully describes the events that unfold. The prose is embellished, almost poetic at times, echoing the Christmas Carol title. You can tell Dickens is relishing sitting down and telling the story, not just conveying an impartial, passive sequence of events.

Despite straying into some dark places, A Christmas Carol keeps the festivities at its heart, throwing everything in: turkey, snow and any other appropriate symbols. It’s a tale immersed in both its time and season.

It’s entertaining, festive and very well told. All A Christmas Carol is missing is a more considered approach to Scrooge’s reaction to what he sees. Dickens has created a classic that many after him have developed and expanded on, and his message lives on so long after it was written: God bless us, every one.


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This entry was posted on December 23, 2014 by in 4 star and tagged .

Author Cloud

@Queen_UK Adolf Hitler agatha christie Alan Clements Alastair Campbell Aldous Huxley Aleksandr Orlov Alex Shaffer Andrew Neiderman Anthony Burgess Arthur Miller Bateman Ben Brooks Ben Elton Bram Stoker Bret Easton Ellis C.J. Cherryh Carolyn Jess-Cooke Charles Dickens Chuck Palahniuk Dan Brown Dante Alighieri dashiell hammett david baldacci David Brin David Glattauer David Kirkpatrick David Line David Tennant David Wolstencroft Dylan Jones E.L. James Edgar Allen Poe Emilia Fox Eoin Colfer Erica Spindler Frank Peretti Gabrielle Lord Gareth Roberts Geoff Ryman George Orwell George R. R. Martin George W. Bush Gillian Flynn Gillian Slovo Graham Greene Guy Piran Harper Lee Harriet Lane Herman Koch Ian Rankin J.K. Rowling Jack Thorne Jacqueline Rayner James Herbert James Patterson Jasper Fforde Jeff Green Jeff Kinney Jeffrey Archer Jem Lester Jenny Robson Jeremy Clarkson Jerry B. Jenkins Jim Thompson John Crowther John Green John Grisham John Tiffany John Verdon Jonas Jonasson Judith Kerr Juliana Foster Justin Richards Kaci Hill Karen Levine Keeley Bolger Louis Walsh malorie blackman Marissa Meyer Mark Haddon Mark Z. Danielewski Martin Sixsmith Mary Higgins Clark Mary McNamara Matt Haig Matthew Ravden Michael Berry Michael Connelly Michael Morpurgo Michael Quirke Miguel de Cervantes Mike Lancaster Morris Gleitzman Morton Rhue Neil Sinclair Nick Hornby Nick Page Patricia Cornwell Patricia Stotley Patrick Ness Paula Hawkins Paul Johnston Peter James Phil Allcock R.J. Palacio Rachelle Dekker Raymond Chandler Richard Bachman Robert Louis Stevenson Robert Ludlum Robin Cook Robin Kirkpatrick sandra brown Sebastian Beaumont Sharon Osbourne Stella Rimmington Stephen Cole Stephen King Steve Lookner Steve Lyons Stuart MacBride Sue Townsend Suzanne Collins ted dekker Terry Pratchett Tim LaHaye Tim Randall Todd Strasser Tom Avery Tom Bower Tom Cain Tom Hoyle tony blair William Golding William P. Young William Shakespeare