A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

I reread A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens just about every Christmas. I love the story of personal redemption as Ebenezer Scrooge learns from his past, recognizes the facts of the present, and learns to hope for the best in the future. For me, the appeal of this ghostly tale is the recognition that I likewise forget the past, present, and future; hopefully I can recognize my errors before I become a “ba-humbug!”.

Who What When Where Why How

I struggled to write this review because I enjoy A Christmas Carol so much, I’ve read it a dozen times in my life, and I imagine the majority of those reading this review have already read it. Therefore, I’m going to keep it short and sweet by falling back on the questions format I did to start my Iliad summary.

Who is it about? Ebenezer Scrooooooooooge, plus Bob Cratchitt and Tiny Tim, the ghost of Jacob Marley, and three spirits (I love the characters in this book; they are all so real to me!)

What’s the big deal? Scrooge is a “humbug” about Christmas and a selfish, greedy man every other day of the year; he needs some convincing to be happy about the day and generous with his wealth. (Don’t we all need a reminder sometimes?!)

When does this happen? Christmas Eve, of course

Where are there ghosts? England somewhere, in Mr. Scrooge’s rooms

Why is Scrooge haunted? Scrooge’s stingy-ness will led to lots of bad things, including his own damnation.

How is Scrooge convinced that Christmas isn’t a humbug? The spirits of Christmases past, present, and future convince him to be nicer about Christmas.

The three spirits, to me, create the “magic” of the story. For me, the haunting by three spirits is incredibly well thought of and well executed. The three spirits follow a universal theme for everyone, for aren’t we all made up of our pasts, our present life, and our hopes and fears for the future?

I love A Christmas Carol. It’s the definitive Christmas story of personal change, and a great reminder that Christmas is about being generous with others and sharing our lives.

Why do you like A Christmas Carol? Or do you dislike it? If so, why do you dislike it? I’m intensely curious why someone wouldn’t like it (I’m sure you are out there!).

I’m looking for a lovely, realistically illustrated, unabridged copy of A Christmas Carol for my bookshelves. Can anyone recommend one, preferably still in print?

Other Reviews:

If you have reviewed A Christmas Carol, leave a link in the comments and I’ll add it here.

About the author 

Rebecca Reid

Rebecca Reid is a homeschooling, stay-at-home mother seeking to make the journey of life-long learning fun by reading lots of good books. Rebecca Reads provides reviews of children's literature she has enjoyed with her children; nonfiction that enhances understanding of educational philosophies, history and more; and classical literature that Rebecca enjoys reading.

  1. I’ve read this one a couple of times and last year we bought ourselves the audio version with Jim Dale.  We haven’t listened to it yet, but we are hoping to find some time in the next couple of days.

  2. I think Dickens is just one author whose voice I can’t hear.  I read this book just over a year ago, and it was my first introduction to Dickens’ work, and I couldn’t stand it.  This little tiny book, it should have taken me a day or two to read, but it took me a month, and I struggled every minute of it. I have yet to attempt another Dickens book.

    I do like the concept, and the story that’s been made into a thousand different versions, but it was the language itself that kept sending me into a stupor.  I just couldn’t handle it.

  3. Dickens and I don’t have a great relationship (what an understatement), but I’ve always loved A Christmas Carol. Particularly because my edition is a quirky little one illustrated by Quentin Blake – the guy who did the Roald Dahl books.

    Can’t really recommend the type you’re looking for. I expect it would be hard to find a recently published unabridged and illustrated copy. I’ve seen some vintage ones like that, though.

  4. Natasha, I had to listen to an audio version in 6th grade and I thought it was horrible! But maybe it was being in 6th grade that made it so!  I hope you like it.

    Amanda, thanks for the reasoning why you don’t like it. I can definitely understand being annoyed with Dickens’ wordiness; I also read some other Christmas stories by Dickens (review to come) and the wordiness became rather tedious, and I didn’t like the themes of those as much. I guess Dickens’ style is a matter of preference!

    Tuesday, I like the idea of Roald Dahl’s illustrator working on A Christmas Carol. Sounds like fun!

  5. My husband says he used to feel the same way as I do about Dickens, and then just in the last couple years, something clicked and suddenly he could hear the voice correctly.  Maybe one day that’ll happen to me, too.  Hope so.

  6. Hi, Rebecca,

    So great to meet a fellow fan of CAROL. And just wanted to let you know that I’ve just published the first sequel to CAROL (with my writing partner, Matt Stevens) — A CHRISTMAS BELLE — that picks up the one loose thread in CAROL — Scrooge makes amends to everyone but his first love Belle. It’s a love story with a dark secret at the center, a redemption story in which Scrooge learns there are deeper ways to connect than with money — and gains riches far greater than gold. Hope you enjoy it! And we’re blogging it now at achristmasbelle.blogspot.com.

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