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A Christmas Carol
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2012 Book Discussions > A Christmas Carol - Review

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Nathan (nathlawless) I hope it's okay that I started my own topic. I just finished the book and wanted everyone to have a place to post their final thoughts/review of it. :)

Here's mine: I thought this was great. I loved the style of writing, and was really surprised by it considering it's an old book. I've never read Dickens before and I can say that I will be reading more by him in the future! However, the Christmas story was not my thing. I've never celebrated Christmas, so I didn't connect with the whole feeling of the book. Scrooge's character was interesting, but I felt like his growth throughout the book was unrealistic and too drastic a change from beginning to end.
It was very enjoyable to read and I did like the style, so I rated it 3 stars.


Karena (karenafagan) That is great that you opened a thread for this! I was planning to, but didn't know if people were going to be done or not yet. You little overachievers! So proud! I have made a dent in mine, but barely as we decided to rearrange our whole house so I have been busy with that. Guess I can turn on the audio while I work!


Shelley (SeaToSkye) I finished reading today and I loved it! There were a few parts that kind of felt like they drifted from the story a little, but other than that I really don't have any complaints. All of the characters are great and after finally reading the story all of the different movie versions sort of come together.


Travis sivarT (TravissivarT) Short and sweet. Simple perfection.


Jacque Hodges (Carter) Shelley wrote: "I finished reading today and I loved it! There were a few parts that kind of felt like they drifted from the story a little, but other than that I really don't have any complaints. All of the chara..."

I felt the same about it bringing the movie versions together. The only part where I had trouble paying attention was when Scrooge was with the 2nd spirit. I'm not sure if Dickens wandered or I did. It's short enough to re-read just to make sure I didn't miss anything.


Shelley (SeaToSkye) Jacque wrote: "Shelley wrote: "I finished reading today and I loved it! There were a few parts that kind of felt like they drifted from the story a little, but other than that I really don't have any complaints. ..."

I was thinking about re-reading it sometime, too. Maybe I was reading too fast or something.


Jacque Hodges (Carter) Shelley wrote: "Jacque wrote: "Shelley wrote: "I finished reading today and I loved it! There were a few parts that kind of felt like they drifted from the story a little, but other than that I really don't have a..."

I sometimes read with inattention and often need to re-read whole chapters. Thankfully this one's short so I can read the whole thing in a couple of days.


Shelley (SeaToSkye) Yeah I finished within a couple of days. It would probably only take one day if I re-read it over Christmas break.


message 9: by Angie, Shelf-tator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Angie (adowns) | 520 comments Although I had read bits and pieces of this in the past, this was my first time reading it completely. I loved it. In fact, it inspired me to pick up Great Expectations, which I think is fantastic so far.


Courtney Sheehy I have just discovered the JOY of audio-books, so I started 'A Christmas Carol' today + also finished (while also getting my weekend jobs out of the way. WIN!) I.loved.it! I (as probably every one else) am so familiar with the story from films, but films are no comparison to your own imagination! I agree with some of the previous comments though, I can not even attempt to review such a classic. However, I thoroughly enjoyed it, + am COMPLETELY feeling the Christmas spirit right now.


Karena (karenafagan) I actually just finished last night. I did 80 percent or so on audio with the Tim Curry version and then read the last part since YouTube didn't have the last part. Charles Dickens, though wordy, does a great job as usual. And Tim Curry cracked me up when he did the Cratchit kids's voices.


Robert Owens (rdowens) A Christmas Carol, seemingly a Christmas classic, was told without one mention of the Christmas story. I find that interesting.

Also catching my attention was the description that the 1843 streets of London were plowed because of the snow. Well, of course, they would need to be. But how? A horse pulling a plow, I suspect. But would that do the trick? What was considered acceptable plowing? Who plowed? Was it a government responsibility? A minor musing to be sure, but one I have yet to satisfactorily resolve.

Yes, I dwell on the little things.

I thoroughly enjoyed the read of a familiar story but one I had previously not read. I like Dickens' writing; I found it enjoyable, humorous, reverent, and thought-provoking.


Elizabeth Moffat | 36 comments Hi everyone, A Christmas Carol is a bit of a re-read for me, I've read it a few times and tend to re-read it every few years at Christmas time. I think it really has a lovely message, is easy to read and quite funny in parts. Karena, I must find the Tim Curry audio version - that sounds hilarious!


Karena (karenafagan) Elizabeth wrote: "Hi everyone, A Christmas Carol is a bit of a re-read for me, I've read it a few times and tend to re-read it every few years at Christmas time. I think it really has a lovely message, is easy to re..."

It was great. Like I said through, my only complaint was that the person posting it on YouTube didn't post the end of it. :(


message 15: by Craciun (new)

Craciun Diana | 4 comments I honestly loved the drastic change that Scrooge had. I do not think it was unrealistic considering that the main purpose was to actually make us improve our behavior towards other people,especially on christmas. If he would have said that Scrooge partially became a better person,the impact of the book wouldn't have been so strong. But that's only my opinion:) I loved everything about this book,from the writing to the story itself,and i actually plan on re-reading it every year before christmas.


Kiss-koczka (kisskoczka) | 36 comments Ok! now I really feel like the Grinch but i found this book really... I`m having difficulty to find the right words because its Dickens and I don`t like to be disrespectful but it was just childish, and not in a good way. I actually decided that i will not comment on this one because everybody seems to love it so much, and I have only bad things to say. It was funny at the beginning but after that i didn`t really enjoy it. There was this mean voice in my head that kept saying yea sure he would change like that no question asked whatsoever.


Karena (karenafagan) Kiss-koczka wrote: "Ok! now I really feel like the Grinch but i found this book really... I`m having difficulty to find the right words because its Dickens and I don`t like to be disrespectful but it was just childish..."

I think that you are entitled to your opinion and you should feel free to discuss it. We want to foster healthy discussion here and maybe your points of view will bring others out who feel the same as you. We certainly don't want people to only post GOOD reviews of books. I do understand what you are going though because I felt the same about Cloud Atlas when everyone was raving about it and I wasn't knocked out about it.
I look forward to reading your review.


Nancy Austin This is a favorite of mine. I read it every year during the Christmas season--usually on the plane traveling to see family. But honestly I think that might be too late in the season. I love the reminder to celebrate with joy and compassion and the turning away from selfishness and consumerism. Maybe once a year isn't enough!


Valerie Brown | 137 comments Well, this was a good suggestion! I just finished it, and I enjoyed it immensely! Of course, I've seen the movie(s) many times - but I have to say I liked the book better.


Natalie (CuriousReader) (curiousreaderr) I like the concept and the story in itself. However I did trouble some with the writing, it took me longer to read than expected and I had to really focus to understand what was happening. Although I'm guessing it helped that I'd watched one movie adaption before hand - so I knew the general story, and thus could still follow the development even when I couldn't understand specific sentences. But I think that re-reading this would be a good idea, so I'll probably try picking it up next winter as well.


Candace I wasn't too keen on Dickens, initially. I have loved some of the movie adaptions of the book so I was hoping to enjoy the book...and I did! Scrooge has such a dry humor, particularly during his conversation with Marley. Yes, it is unlikely anyone would have changed so drastically in "real" life, but maybe being presented with your grave by a silent, creepy ghost would be enough to make anyone change? I still believe that "A Christmas Carol" captures the spirit and meaning of Christmas - giving and family.


message 22: by Pam (new) - rated it 4 stars

Pam I liked the book very much. I don't remember reading it before. Guess I just watched all the different movie versions. I loved the prose much better than viewing the movies. An excellent choice for this time of the year.


Martin Waterhouse Even though it took me over two weeks to finish this very short book (due to my second boy being born, and me being unable to read for longer than 7 minute at a stretch without falling asleep) I thoroughly enjoyed it. Those long, convoluted Victorian sentences are thick with ideas, imagery and wordplay; the language and vocabulary are both archaic and homely, difficult yet delightful; and the story itself is inspired: a truly timeless parable of redemption.
But what struck me the most was the social commentary aspect to the story; after all, Dickens was an ardent and influential spokesman for the poor, and he wrote this in an England that bears some striking similarities to our own times: we were involved in expensive foreign wars over resources (the opium wars in China); the global economy was floundering due to banks collapsing in the USA; advancements in communication technology (the introduction of the postage stamp, and the surge in newspapers) meant people were more connected, and better informed, than ever before; and, most of all, the wealth and health gap between the top and the bottom in society was expanding (The Communist Manifesto would be published 5 years later).
Dickens is in an England where Blake’s “Satanic Mills” are chewing through the working classes, whereas the industrial capitalists at the top of society are living the genteel Victorian dream that we see portrayed on the - then newly invented - Christmas cards, and is still to this day. And Dickens isn’t being subtle at pointing out the villains either … The Scrooge in the novel is an evil man, not just a miser - as he’s generally portrayed nowadays - but an employer who, rather than see his profits reduced, would first see his employees - and the poor in general, actually - worked to the death: obedient, powerless and disposable in their absolute poverty.
So, while I was expecting some light Victorian Christian sentimentalism - suitable for The Muppets to feel they can take it on, say - what I actually found myself reading was a revolutionary Socialist Pagan tale - marvelous! So a great choice CWAtC people - you confounded my expectations, which is exactly what I was hoping for … cheers!
(As an aside: serendipitously, after finishing ‘A Christmas Carol’, the next book I picked up to read was Terry Pratchett’s ‘Dodger’ in which Dickens has a starring role …)


Karena (karenafagan) Martin wrote: "Even though it took me over two weeks to finish this very short book (due to my second boy being born, and me being unable to read for longer than 7 minute at a stretch without falling asleep) I th..."

Great review! Congrats on your baby!


message 25: by Gina (new) - rated it 5 stars

Gina I'm glad I finally got the chance to read this book. I kept hearing the Muppets in my head (and Michael Caine of course) throughout the story.
The part I was really wondering about at the end was the gigantic turkey that Scrooge bought for Bob's family. How would that turkey compare to today's mammoth-sized monstrosities??


Julie | 4 comments A little surprised that as a former English major I have never read any Dickens! I found this book to be super easy, especially because I'm so familiar with the story from adaptations. I think it was a good way to be introduced to his style of writing and I've added a few of his works to my TBR pile.

Scrooge's transformation was a bit quick but since its a heartwarming Christmas story I kind of let it slide...glad I finally read it and now can say that I haven't just seen the movie.


message 27: by Jo (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jo Audible books rule!! Just listened last night on the drive towards Christmas vacation destination, (also, Tim Curry rocks it as narrator). We loved it, not sure I had read it through ever, the descriptions of the ghosts are great. I agree with others that a book is usually best left on the page and not on the screen, with several exceptions, however, something like this that is meant to be so self-reflective seems much more powerful in written word. I would say 4.5 stars out of 5!


message 28: by Lisa (new)

Lisa | 2 comments Audiobooks do rule, Jo. Although I love the feel of a real book in my hand, I have to say that audiobooks have greatly expanded the amount of time I can devote to reading. Just finished "The Year of Magical Thinking" that way.

Although I love Dickens, this is actually the first chance I got to read "A Christmas Carol", despite having seen many screen and stage adaptations of it. I agree with Julie that the transformation seems quick, but I believe the story was initially serialized so it probably didn't seem so to the 19th century reader. It's short but the essence of Dickens is still throughout the book, his sharp humor and his wonderful over-the-top descriptions. Thanks for recommending!


Jacque (jacque_fairbourn) not really going to review it- just say that even though I knew the story already I LOVED reading this (I'd never actually read it before) and really needed the message this year, it has enhanced my holiday


Casseroll Great little book. Listened to the audiobook version while wrapping presents and whatnot yesterday. Didn't take too long and got me in the holiday mood. Hearing about Tiny Tim still got me emotional even though I've seen movies based on the book before. Listened to: A Christmas Carol [Naxos AudioBooks] (Unabridged) narrated by Anton Lesser.


Tearsa (turrsaturrsa) What a great Christmas classic! I think Scrooge's transformation was way too quick to be realistic, but besides that I liked it. The pace was quick and the description was not overbearing (my first dip into Dicken's books). I love the films so I'm familiar with the story and love the concept. And I'll always have a sappy soft spot for Tiny Tim (who doesn't?!). I gave this book four stars, although I won't probably read it again--I'll admit to enjoying the films a little bit more!


Danaë | 89 comments This was my first time reading A Christmas Carol, though I'd listened to it before, and of course seen lots of movie versions. I greatly enjoyed Dickens' imagery and look forward to reading more of his work now.

I don't have much of a review to put here, just some random thoughts. One thing that always jars me a little in the story is at the end when Scrooge asks to see some tenderness connected with the death and the last spirit takes him to the couple who are happy he is dead so their debt can go unpaid a little longer. I understand it would give away the corpse's identity early, but surely Scrooge's nephew Fred would be sad? He seemed to have genuine affection for his uncle.

Fred's attitude toward Scrooge is part of why I don't see him as evil. He says Scrooge is "not so pleasant as he might be. However, his offences carry their own punishment, and I have nothing to say against him." I think this and the rapid change in Scrooge once he has actually seen the suffering of the poor speak to his being bitter and closed off more than evil. I've always thought he tossed off those cruel words about workhouses and prisons without much thought. In the spirit of "leave me alone in my misery."


Jennifer | 17 comments Danae wrote: I think this and the rapid change in Scrooge once he has actually seen the suffering of the poor speak to his being bitter and closed off more than evil. - I agree and this sets me to wondering.

I have seen people change dramatically and I have seen them change slowly over time. I wonder at what causes change in myself and others. I think Dickens' exploration of why a person is "evil" and how that person can change is intriguing. I wonder if the intent of the book is to reform or inform. Perhaps it is both. Your thoughts...


Ashley Ebmeier Hi, everyone!

I finished reading today. Having only limited experience with Dickens previously, I can say I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. I think the fact that I wasn't terribly familiar with any film version, so I was able to really experience what I was reading as opposed to flashing back to memories of a movie. I did struggle some with the 'wordiness' of it all, but on the whole I thought it was wonderful.
My least favorite thing about this book would have to be how quickly Scripts changed his whole demeanor. Although I understand why, I feel like it was to sudden to be organic.
My absolute favorite part was Dickens describing the Nephews laugh. It made me think of my fiancees warm and infectious laugh; and nothing beats an emotional connection like that.


Ashley Ebmeier Oh, my goodness..... please forgive all of the typos in the comment above! Serves me right for trying to do this from a smartphone!


Jenna I'm not sure how you read this book without the nostalgia value of envisioning Goofy's Marley face on Donald's Scrooge door-knocker, but maybe I'm showing my (35-year-old) age, since the animated Disney version came out when I was 6 and I've watched it near-annually for the last 29 years. And so it is with Mickey's portrayal of Bob Cratchit in the back of my mind that I give it four stars.

It's short. It's heartwarming. It's a timeless story. A nice way to spend a December afternoon.


Elizabeth Moffat | 36 comments Hehe Jenna, I completely forgot about Goofy's Marley face, that is funny to picture whilst reading this book!


Kendra | 2 comments This was my first foray in Charles Dickens, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I've seen so many movie adaptations of it that I kind of had to separate it in my mind. I read it on my kobo, which was awesome because I could easily look up words I hadn't heard before - always the case with the classics.


Margaret I don't think I've ever seen the Disney version! Better look that one up next year - it's been fun watching different versions with my family.

I love the book's message that anyone, no matter how mean or miserable, can be changed. I see it as the grace of God working in Scrooge. Obviously others see it differently! Wonderful story, in any case!


Ann-Marie (amsjob) A Christmas Carol is one of my all time favorites. If I don´t read it every christmas I at least watch one of the many movies on it. This year I´ve bought a DVD with a ballet (!?) I just can´t help myself. I think it´s the mixture of old time London, snow, ghosts, christmas AND the wonderful teaching that we all can have a second chance, it is never to late - not even if you are as old and mean as Scrooge. It´s also about coming to terms with your past. You can forgive yourself for the wrong choices you have made. God Bless You everyone!


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