There’s likely not a soul in the English-speaking world who hasn’t heard this story before or hasn’t at least seen some adulterated version of its plot in the movies or on TV. Like most, I’ve been familiar with A Christmas Carol since childhood, and yet I’ve never read the book for myself. I’ve been satisfied to simply watch The Muppets version or that freaky CGI version starring Jim Carey from a few years back. I had always figured that I knew the story well enough to ever need to read it for myself, and I was satisfied with that. Thankfully, however, I determined this year to read through all the Christmas books I could get my hands on, and this freebie on my Kindle was an obvious choice.
The written version was more humorous that I had expected, as Dickens start off immediately with his silly distinction between the literal deadness of doornail that of a coffin nail. This humor set the stage for the familiar events to follow, and it pulled me right in.
A few of the scenes, or at least conversations within some scenes, were unfamiliar to me, and I can’t recall ever having seen them in any of the film versions. The ghouls in the streets following Marley’s departure, for example, are as terrifying and revealing as anything. This truth about the details in novels is what always makes books so much better than movies: there are always internal conversations or interpretations of scenes that an author can deliver so eloquently which a director or actor just cannot communicate. Now having read the book for myself, I’m certain that I’ll understand the story much better the next time I watch even The Muppets version.
While I’ve never risked starting any other Dickens tome, for fear that I’d have to give up on a classic due either to arcane English or simply to ginormous word-count, this book offers me a bit more confidence to someday give it a shot. So Merry Christmas to all, and “God bless us, everyone.”