Friday, December 10, 2010

Book Review: A Christmas Carol

Few books cause the words to catch in my throat before even speaking them aloud and this is one of them.

"I have endeavored in the Ghostly little book, to raise the Ghost of an Idea, which shall not put my readers out of humour with themselves, with each other, with the season, or with me. May it haunt their houses pleasantly, and no one wish to lay it."--Their Faithful Friend and Servant, C.D. December, 1843

A Christmas Carol is a holiday classic that has inspired 22 films, more than 30 television specials, more than 20 different theatrical productions--including musicals and opera, none of which in my experience capture the essence of the story. That is, with the exception of Scrooge (1951) staring Alistair Sim--a Christmas classic staple with my Dad and I.

It is a wonderful story, and I understand why so many people would be anxious to adapt it in some way, but the unabridged book is perfect.

In 1993, my dad read the book aloud to me, reading me sections during the month of December before bed. He would stop and explain words and phrases that were too mature for an 8 year old and slowly the story took place. A tradition was born, and every year after that until my senior year of high school, my dad and I would read A Christmas Carol together. He did all the voices and added extra lines that over the years became small jokes.

Since 2004, my first year on my own, I have re-read the book by myself. I will read this book every year of my life, and I will likely hear my dad's voice in my head, the characters that he brought to life with his intonations and interpretations and the love he had in his voice as he read it.

The book is humorous, tender, and sacred. Only 114 pages long, this sweet book has had more impact on me and my life, than any other work of fiction. There is a line in the book where Dickens infers that he is standing at our elbow in spirit as we read and I feel that, I feel his heart and soul in this book. I love it dearly.

1 comment:

Candace said...

I read "A Christmas Carol" for the first time two months ago. I completely agree with you. No adaptation comes close and I will read it every year from now on.