Back in the bright red dawn of time when children didn’t have their own DVD collections, when blurays and DVRs were just lights shining in the eyes of their creators, I waited at Christmas to see my favorite shows on the TV (without a remote) when they were actually scheduled. I actually had to sit through commercials. It was a cold and bleak time.
My exposure to A Christmas Carol was always through the movies. Mickey’s Christmas Carol being my favorite. Much like Tarzan, the movies are why I wanted to read the book. Even though it’s by Charles Dickens and even though, despite my English Bachelor’s Degree, I’ve never been able to plow through one of his books. Though I did read an abridge Great Expectations in my middle school days. But it was abridged, so it doesn’t count. I’ve since tried to read The Tale of Two Cities and David Copperfield. David Copperfield sucked me in until the child abuse got so excessive I needed to take a break. And then I never picked it back up. Maybe I will…but the child abuse books are so much worse now that I’m a foster parent. I have faces to go with these images, so I expect my break from David Copperfield will continue for a while.
Does anyone else ever take breaks from books intending to finish them? Right now, off the top of my head, I’m on a break from Varney the Vampyre, Cinder, Shatter Me, David Copperfield, and Cold Comfort Farm.
Anyhoo, with this book, I was even more intrigued because I loved the idea of a Christmas ghost story. I now want to write a Valentine’s Day horror story. Because love and death go hand in hand right? Right?!
But this ghost story conveys the clear belief that Dickens had in Christ. After all, Bob Cratchett repeats what Tiny Time said, “He told me, coming home, that he hoped the people saw him in the church, because he was a cripple, and it might be pleasant to them to remember upon Christmas Day, who made lame beggars walk, and blind men see.” And with that thought, so clearly expressed conveys the idea of Christianity. That Christ came to this earth to suffer, so that we would not have to. And that in remembering Him, we remember that there is more to this life than money, status, and what not. There is also the life we lead that shows our faith or lack thereof.
But what I found myself thinking about most was the idea of Marley. Marley the ghost who comes to warn Scrooge and save him from an eternity of torment. Why does Scrooge get this extra-curricular style warning and Marley not? Was Marley’s life worth less? What about Scrooge makes him worthy of divine intervention? Perhaps, it was the state of his heart. Would Marley have repented given the same experience? Maybe he even had one, in the untold back story, but Marley chose to not change. Or maybe, the all-knowing being who sent these ghosts to Scrooge knew knew that Marley would not have repented. But knew also, that Scrooge’s heart was softer More inclined towards change. After the third ghost, he’s ready to make a new life. Even still… he has to see the Ghost of Christmas Future and realize his potential death.
Or maybe his inevitable death. Don’t we all face death at any time? No man knows the day and hour they will die. Each of us will carry to the next life the life we led. Perhaps that is what Dickens is saying?
I like, however, how the repentance isn’t easy for Scrooge. After his experience, Scrooge has trouble facing the portly dude collecting money for the poor. And Scrooge had to try time and again before being able to enter his nephew’s home. Shame rode him for his lifetime of cruelty.
I don’t really know. But what I do know is that I felt the story was beautiful. That regardless of your belief in Christ the story is fun and creepy and still Christmas-y. Obviously, recommended.
2 thoughts on “Book Review: A Christmas Carol”
I LOVE ‘A Christmas Carol’ and reread it every year. I think it’s one of those books that people can talk about for hours. Each character feels so real. But then, I really love Dickens. And I’m with you on the Disney version. Love it!
What other Dickens book would you recommend next? I haven’t really given up on him… I have, however, given up on Wuthering Heights.