Review: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

“Men’s courses will foreshadow certain ends, to which, if perservered in, they must lead,” said Scrooge. “But if the courses be departed from, the ends will change…”

A Christmas Carol is the one classic that almost everyone knows, even if they’ve never read the book. It’s the story of an old, money-obsessed miser called Ebenezer Scrooge who is given the chance of redemption one Christmas Eve when he is visited by the ghost of his deceased business partner, Jacob Marley. Marley warns Scrooge that unless he changes his ways, he will end up like Marley himself, doomed to wander the earth bound by heavy chains of his own making. During the night Scrooge is visited by three more spirits – the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas Yet to Come – who help him to understand that there are more important things in life than money: things such as generosity, compassion and kindness. The scenes Scrooge witnesses that Christmas Eve are to change his life forever and transform him into a different person.

A Christmas Carol is shorter and easier to read than most of Dickens’ other books and really is suitable for people of all ages. I loved it as a child and after re-reading it this week for the first time in years, I loved it as an adult too. No matter how many movies, cartoons or TV adaptations you may have seen, it’s still worth reading the book for the richness and humour of Dickens’ writing and for his wonderful descriptions and imagery. For example when describing the location of Scrooge’s home, hidden away in a gloomy yard, he says:

 “…one could scarcely help fancying it must have run there when it was a young house, playing at hide-and-seek with other houses, and have forgotten the way out again”.

There are great lines like this one throughout the entire book. I also loved his portrayal of a Victorian Christmas in 19th century London.

Although some readers might find it too sentimental at times, it’s easy to see why this book has become a timeless classic, as it is everything a good Christmas story should be – heartwarming, inspirational and with an important message for us all.


Genre: Classics/Pages: 147/Publisher: Chancellor Press/Year: 1985 (originally published 1843)/Illustrations by Arthur Rackham/Source: My own copy

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