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Book: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens – and my new Kindle!

‘The Muppet Christmas Carol’ (1992) Walt Disney Pictures / Jim Henson Productions

Christmas came early in the Whitby household this week, I was given a Kindle e-reader!

Musicforhair. knows that books are a big passion of mine and has kindly let me link my Kindle to the Musicforhair. Twitter and blog, so that you can see when I have downloaded or finished reading a new book and what I thought of it!

Since I was feeling Christmassy due to receiving an early present, I thought it fitting to read A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.

‘A Christmas Carol’ by Charles Dickens

Although I haven’t read this book before, I found it very easy to visualise the characters due to seeing several film adaptations. This helped bring the stingy Scrooge and the four ghosts to life in my imagination, especially the ghost of Christmas present, but was a little distracting when reading the description of Scrooge’s nephew celebrating Christmas with his family – I kept visualising the scene in the Bill Murray film Scrooged where he observes his brother and sister-in-law opening an expensive present he didn’t realise his PA had ordered (I think it was a VCR, I guess a VCR was kind of a luxury item in 1988!)

If you’re not much of a reader, I would still urge you to read A Christmas Carol. As a novella rather than a full length novel there’s no “waffle” the imagery is intricate yet concise and the story moves along at a good pace. Also, don’t be put off by the fact that the book is over 150 years old, the writing is very modern and it’s themes of generosity and taking pleasure in the simple joys of life resonate even today.

The ghost of Christmas past introduces Scrooge to two children he names Ignorance and Want, reminding Scrooge that he had called for the numbers of poor in London to be given a place in prison or a workhouse rather than giving them comfort and charity at Christmas. This message  is as timely now as it was in 1843, whilst the recession continues and we worry about the pressures of Christmas, the book reminds us that spending time with our partner,  family, or even our colleagues can relieve loneliness and allow us to face the New Year with a little more optimism.

There are three parts of the book that I particularly enjoyed. If you don’t want spoilers, don’t read the next three paragraphs!

The part where Scrooge leaves his bedroom and finds the ghost of Christmas present in his living room is one of my favourites partly because of the description of the couch made from Christmas food such as goose and mince pies. When I as growing up Christmas was always about the food, my mum would stay up until very early in the morning to put the turkey in the oven (and have a few glasses of Sherry which the chef is entitled to!) and we would be allowed to eat chocolate from our selection boxes for breakfast.

Another favourite is the scene where a young  Scrooge and his fellow apprentice go to sleep under the counter in the warehouse where they work. It’s Christmas Eve, and they stay awake talking about the generosity of their boss for throwing them a lovely Christmas Eve party. Scrooge realises the effect a kind or unkind word can have on a young apprentice and decides to show some kindness to his own employee. This is a lesson I think a few employers could learn.

I also particularly appreciated the part where Scrooge observes his laundry woman, maid and a worker from the undertakers selling his property to a rag and bone man. The image of the room full of rusty metal and rags is scary enough, but when we realise his own clothes bed curtains were stolen whilst he lay dead I was terrified for Scrooge, realising they were talking about Scrooge at the same time he did! I imagine this particular part of the book was seen to be very shocking at the time it was published, but it’s necessary as we realise the bad feeling Scrooge has caused with his lack of compassion.

Happy reading everyone!

Please leave me a comment if you enjoyed this review, or have any suggestions for me.

Mina Whitby

A Christmas Carol | Wikipedia | Amazon.com (Kindle edition)

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