This is closest I’ll ever get to ‘holiday cheer’. Enjoy it while it lasts.
A Christmas Carol is the quintessential Christmas story. It’s been retold countless times in countless formats. Rewrites by other authors? Check. Movies? Tons. Animation? Does the Mr. Magoo version count? A Muppets movie?! Done and done well! Everyone has, at some point, experienced this story.
But what of the original? How many people have experienced the original classic by Charles Dickens? Before now, I certainly haven’t. That begs the question: does the Christmas classic still stand on its own today? Or has it been surpassed by one of its many differing versions?
Well, it’s… a bit weird. It’s a very short and enjoyable read, sure. But it certainly shows its age in more than one degree.
You already know the story. Scrooge is a greedy, grumpy old man who basically hates everything, especially Christmas. Late one night, on Christmas Eve, he’s met by the ghost of Marley, his old business partner. Marley explains that Scrooge will be visited by three spirits in order to redeem him and spare him a terrible fate in death. From there, Scrooge is visited by the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future, transforms into a good person and spends the rest of his days with generosity and happiness.
What did you expect me to say here? We all know how this is going to go. These characters have been around for well over one hundred years now and they’re still remembered. Sure, they aren’t especially deep or interesting. But they *mostly* feel real enough to stick in your mind.
I say mostly because some of this dialogue is pretty bad. It definitely shows its age in that department.
The pacing is also a bit wonky. There are certain scenes where the story will simply grind to a halt so Dickens can explain something pointless to you. That, or by spending way too long describing what’s happening in one scene, to the point where I couldn’t help but mutter-growl “Okay, I get it!” to myself while reading. That or the story just moves way too quickly! Scrooge’s transformation is complete about halfway through the Ghost of Christmas Present, which does make the latter half of that chapter and the entire Ghost of Christmas Future chapter feel mostly pointless.
That’s pretty much how I felt all throughout my reading of ‘A Christmas Carol’. It isn’t a bad story, but it certainly shows its age in a lot of departments. Still, I couldn’t help but feel like I was wasting my time. I’d already experienced this story more times than I could count!
Sorry, Charles Dickens! But I’ve already seen the Muppets version! The bar has been raised!
Honestly, I have a hard time recommending ‘A Christmas Carol’. It isn’t a bad read, sure, but what’s the point? You’ve already experienced the story more times and probably in a more interesting way! If you really enjoy the classic story and haven’t read the original, then I guess I’d recommend it. But if you’re satisfied with what you’ve already experienced? Then don’t bother reading this one.
Huh. So much for ‘holiday cheer’.
Happy holidays, everyone!