Review: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Bah humbug! The snow is falling, Christmas carolers are in the streets London, dinner is in the oven, families are laughing around the fire, and Ebenezer Scrooge is busy ‘bah humbug-ing’ everyones Christmas cheer!

In the timeless classic A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, Scrooge is visited by three ghosts: Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Future. The ghosts are sent to help Scrooge realize the importance of giving, being thankful, and of course being merry during the holiday season.

I decided to read this book for both the Victorian Literature and the Christmas Spirit reading challenges since I have never actually read the classic novel.

As a child I remember watching the Muppets version of this book but that’s about it….and I just have to go on record….I love the Muppets Christmas Carol! I know lots of families read this book to their families every year as part of their holiday tradition as it is relatively short (surprisingly for a Victorian era novel….and a Dickens novel!)

Needless to say I was really excited to start it especially during the holidays….something to get me really excited for Christmas.

When I think of Christmas even though I haven’t read the book and it’s been YEARS since I saw the movies etc….when I think of Christmas, I think of Dickens’s London in this book…the foggy streets, the goose roasting in the oven, holly decking the halls, and the carolers huddled around the fires in the snow….this book IS Christmas for me.

Knowing that this novel IS Christmas for me, you can imagine how breaks my heart to say that didn’t LOVE this story….I adore Charles Dickens as a writer and I know this is one of his most notable works and while I enjoyed it–I just didn’t love it. Which makes me horribly sad because I really wanted to give this book 5 stars, but I think I’m going to have to go with 4 starts. I wanted to be able to say I LOVED LOVED LOVED it but I can only say I liked it.

I’m not going to recap the whole story here, as I am reasonably sure most of you are familiar with the story in one form or another….Mickey Mouse, the Muppets, the Jim Carey film….most everyone knows at least ONE version of  the classic. Most of us know the heart warming tale of Tiny Tim and the Cratchit family…Scrooge and all the ghosts of Christmas.

The book is very well written and the story told with such gusto from the unknown narrator that I can literally see Dickens reading allowed from this book with his family and friends huddled around the Christmas tree….but there was just something about it I didn’t care for and I just can’t put my finger on it precisely. Part of me thinks the story is a little depressing as a Christmas story….the whole dying, ghost thing and of course Scrooge’s life are all very sad things….yes Scrooge sees the errors of his ways in the end and everything is happy and merry but I just had this nagging sad feeling throughout the story which I think what made me not LOVE it. Or perhaps I was just not quite in the Christmas spirit yet?? Who knows…

This is not just a story of Christmas but a story about salvation and redemption as well.  It’s not Scrooge’s aversion to tinsel and Christmas pudding that are his downfall, but rather his maliciousness towards humanity.

For those of you who are not familiar with Dickens, he was quite the social reformer and many of his books have very strong themes and references to the working class and the poor. Dickens’s hope was that through literature he could bring awareness and help to the poor and downtrodden people. For Dickens celebrating Christmas was more than just a time to be jolly and eating a big Christmas goose and pudding with your family….it was a time for helping those less fortunate. In an era that saw much suffering and hard times, there was a real need to encourage those who could afford to help into action which we see  very clearly here in A Christmas Carol.

This is a charming tale of self redemption, giving, and of course Christmas! While I was not swept away like some with this book, I did enjoy it and would recommend it to anyone…..and yes I will probably read it to my children (should I have any of those one day)…as I said before there is no Christmas like a Dickens Christmas! Dickens IS Christmas for me and my holiday would not be complete without him :).

Challenge/Book Summary:

Book: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

  • Kindle Edition
  • Published August 24th 2004 (first published 1843)

This book counts toward: Victorian Literature Challenge and Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge

Recommendation: 4 out of 5 (a timeless, heartwarming classic story).

Genre:  Classics, British Literature, Victorian Literature

Memorable lines/quotes: 

No space of regret can make amends for one life’s opportunity misused

7 thoughts on “Review: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

  1. How can you give it a 4 star>?????????? It is a 5 star story for sure! I read it for the first time as a 4th grader. I loved reading about Marley’s chin having to be attached with a neck cloth. Read it again…and have some champagne when you read it. It is a must each Christmas. I have watched nearly each and every remake of the movie. My favorite is the original with Fredrich March. We need to watch it together! xoxoxox

    1. I know I know isn’t it horrible!! I really really really wanted to give it 5 stars too but just couldn’t it was good but the lingering feeling of death and all the other sad Christmases was just meah for me 😦
      Yes we will have to watch one of the movies, I love the Muppets Christmas… know I love Kermit 🙂

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