Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Book Review: A Christmas Carol

I spent the last hour adjusting the brightness and size of my Christmas photos, intending to create an album in Picasa for you. After all was said and done, though, I realized I didn't have enough photos to tell a story. So instead, I'll be the last one to end the Christmas blogging season by writing a book review for you. That's right; for the first time in my life this year, I read A Christmas Carol.

President Monson reads it every Christmas, so I thought I better read it, too. I started it on my flight to Atlanta and ended it just yesterday. It's not a thick book (only about 115 pages), so it shouldn't have taken me so long, but I put it down the whole time I was with my family. Don't let that fool you, though. It is an entertaining and quick read. It made me laugh, and yes, it even made me cry. It's not entirely different from its movie adaptations, but there are some scenes in the book that are wholly overlooked in the movies. It's a shame, too, because those scenes are particularly wonderful. And the writing . . . Ohhhh, the writing! Just look at these sentences!
  • Oh! But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge! A squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster. (10)
  • And now, without a word of warning from the Ghost, they stood upon a bleak and desert moor, where monstrous masses of rude stone were cast about, as though it were the burial-place of giants; and water spread itself wheresoever it listed; or would have done so, but for the frost that held it prisoner . . . (73)
  • The Phantom slowly, gravely, silently approached. When it came near him, Scrooge bent down upon his knee; for in the very air through which this Spirit moved it seemed to scatter gloom and mystery. (87)
  • Strike, Shadow, strike! And see his good deeds springing from the wound, to sow the world with life immortal! (96-97)
On the back of my copy, the publisher printed the review that critic Francis Jeffrey wrote directly to Dickens: "Blessings on your kind heart. You should be happy yourself, for you may be sure you have done more good by this little publication, fostered more kindly feelings, and prompted more positive acts of beneficence, than can be traced to all the pulpits and confessionals in Christendom since Christmas, 1842." (Dickens first published the book in 1843.) There's more. William Thackeray called it, "a national benefit, and to every man or woman who reads it a personal kindness."

Just read it, okay? If not now, next Christmas. I promise it will be the best spent time of your year. Top 10, anyway. :)

*Dickens, Charles. A Christmas Carol. Garden City, New York: Dolphin Books, Doubleday & Company.

Thing I'm thankful for: a warm and cozy bed.


Blogger David and Jessica Wakefield said...

David and I read this book when we were first married, we loved it! It's definitely a great read!

10:59 AM  
Blogger cardlady said...

It should be mandatory reading for Dad every month before Christmas!

12:29 PM  
Blogger kelly said...

I would just like to state that my favorite rendition of A Christmas Carol is, of course, the Muppet Christmas Carol, where they quote heavily directly from the book.

9:09 PM  

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