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Cannonball Read III: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

By TylerDFC | Books | November 16, 2011 |

By TylerDFC | Books | November 16, 2011 |

Before any of you start bitching about something related to Christmas popping up on Pajiba (of all places!) before Thanksgiving, please note that TylerDFC wrote this at the beginning of CBR-III (so around Christmastime last year). And since it’s his turn to be in the CBR spotlight and this review met my requirements, it’s getting posted. So you can suck it and enjoy his lovely review.—TU

Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is a classic for a reason. It is simply constructed, but loaded with details and inflections that make the story come alive. I’ve seen most versions of the story told in film. My favorites are the George C Scott movie from the 80’s, Scrooged with Bill Murray, and the Muppet’s Christmas Carol because, well, it’s the Muppets with Michael Caine as Scrooge. How can you NOT love that one? But until this year, I had never actually sat down to read the book.

Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is not a long novel. I actually read it over an extended lunch hour just before Christmas. It was originally intended to be a tract to encourage charity toward the poor of London, a cause that Dickens rallied for most of his life. Most everyone knows the story of A Christmas Carol by heart. Curmudgeonly Ebeneezer Scrooge is given one final chance to turn around his greedy and selfish ways or face everlasting damnation. On Christmas Eve he is taken on a journey to his past, present, and future by separate Christmas spirits to recapture the cheer he had lost and learn to be a better person.

Where the novel succeeds so wonderfully is in the writing and dialogue. Dickens didn’t write this as a deep and complex tale, it is simply a little fable about doing nice things for others. The enduring legacy of the book is hard to ignore while reading, but the story felt just as fresh to me as the first time I heard it. There is a reason the tale resonates after 150 years. The desire to be better than you are, to do more for those less fortunate, to share your good fortune for the betterment of your fellow man, these are timeless messages. Just as relevant today as it was in Dickens’ time. It is a holiday classic for a reason. If you have never taken the time to read it, you are doing yourself a disservice. I plan to re-read it every holiday season. It is a marvelous antidote to the cynicism and commercialization around Christmas and a good reminder to take the time to appreciate your friends and family and to do your part to help others both at Christmas and the whole year through.

For more of TylerDFC’s reviews, check out his blog, RUFKM.

This review is part of Cannonball Read III. For more information, click here.

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