(Review) A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, illustrated by John Leech

Publisher and Publication Date: Fall River Press. 2019 edition printed for Barnes and Noble. First published in 1843.
Genre: Fiction. Victorian literature. Classic literature. Christmas story. Novella.
Pages: 124.
Format: Softcover, gold-edging.
Source: Self-purchase from Barnes and Noble.
Audience: Readers of Charles Dickens. Readers of classic literature and Christmas stories.
Rating: Excellent.

To read other blog posts:
Behind the Scenes of Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol. English Historical Fiction Authors.
Becky’s Book Reviews. A Christmas Carol.

Illustrator of the 1st edition and my copy is John Leech (1817-1864).

A Christmas Carol can be read free on Project Gutenberg.
A Christmas Carol can be listened to free (audio only) at YouTube.
I just found this channel on YouTube. It has free audio recordings of books, many of them are classics.
Greatest Audio Books

1st edition front cover. 1843.
Title page of the 1st edition.

Victorian era. London, England.
It is not exactly stated, but Ebenezer Scrooge had been an accounts clerk. Then, he and Jacob Marley became the owners of a counting house business. The business exchanged money for the public and charged interest. Jacob Marley died leaving Scrooge as the primary owner. Both men are selfish and haughty. They are unfeeling towards the people who owed money or worked for them. For example, Bob Cratchet. I don’t know if I’d call Scrooge a miser (probably), but he is unwilling to help those in need. He is unwilling until three ghosts visit him in the night.

It is interesting to me A Christmas Carol is several types of stories in one cover. It is a Christmas story, a moral story, a family story, a ghost story, a story about the Victorian era in regards to culture and society, and it is a novella (a short story). It is a book packed with wonderful and entertaining surprises (even for a person who has read this story before).

My Thoughts:
Have you read A Christmas Carol? I’m not asking if you’ve seen the film. Have you read the story?

I have read A Christmas Carol several times. I’ve watched all or most of the film adaptions.
The first time I read the story was in high school. I have read the story as an adult possibly 6 or 7 times. I love it. It’s one of my favorite stories.

I love A Christmas Carol for several reasons.
1. Ebenezer Scrooge is one of the best characterizations in a fictional story. He is defined in crisp detail. He is memorable.
“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. The cold within him froze his old features, nipped his pointed nose, shriveled his cheek, stiffened his gait; made his eyes red, his thin lips blue; and spoke out shrewdly in his grating voice. A frosty rime was on his head, and on his eyebrows, and his wiry chin. He carried his own low temperature always about with him; he iced his office in the dog-days; and didn’t thaw it one degree at Christmas.” Page 2-3.
2. The atmosphere or environment of the story meets the mood of the story.
“The fog came pouring in at every chink and keyhole, and was so dense without, that although the court was of the narrowest, the houses were mere phantoms.” Page 4.
“The cold became intense…The water-plug being left in solitude, its overflowings sullenly congealed, and turned to misanthropic ice.” Page 10.
3. I love the use of visiting ghosts and their messages to finally change Scrooge’s heart.
4. I love the structure of the story-the form of how the story is told.

Final thoughts:
I wonder if some of the ideas, fears, and unresolved life choices were already in Scrooge’s mind and the ghosts merely tweaked them? I feel it is possible Scrooge is a representation of people who do not feel and process the hardships of life?

Themes in the story: transformation, redemption, poverty, love, loneliness, ambition, and compassion.

Quotes I love:
“I wear the chain I forged in life, replied the Ghost. “I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it. Is its pattern strange to you?” Page 21.

“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach.” Page 109.

“His own heart laughed: and that was quite enough for him.” Page 118.


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