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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's a classic for a reason!
I'm almost ashamed to admit that I've never read this classic before! After being fairly disappointed by the new Disney 3D movie version of A Christmas Carol, I decided it was time to read the book so at least I'd know the real story. I wasn't sure what to expect because I often have a hard time getting through the classics, but absolutely I adored it!

Charles...
Published on Feb. 3 2010 by J. Scully

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars The ways of Scrooge
A Christmas Carol is a story of social conscious, where wrongs are righted and kindness prevails. Set in a time much like today: where poverty is widespread, being of the middle class is popular and a small population holds a large potion of the wealth. Social class dictates life, most lifetimes are spent in a single class and there is seldom movement within the...
Published on April 12 2002 by Megan


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's a classic for a reason!, Feb. 3 2010
By 
J. Scully "withagoodbook" (Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: A Christmas Carol (Paperback)
I'm almost ashamed to admit that I've never read this classic before! After being fairly disappointed by the new Disney 3D movie version of A Christmas Carol, I decided it was time to read the book so at least I'd know the real story. I wasn't sure what to expect because I often have a hard time getting through the classics, but absolutely I adored it!

Charles Dickens is a true wordsmith; his writing flows in such a way that makes it almost lyrical. I won't go into the story, because I can't imagine there's a person out there who hasn't heard, read or seen it some form or other, but I will say that I regret not reading this wonderful tale earlier, and am eager to read more stories by the fantastic Charles Dickens!

I'll leave you with a quote from the end of the novel that's had me smiling all day: "His own heart laughed: and that was quite enough for him."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Christmas Carol to treasure for Christmases yet to come, Nov. 8 2003
By 
Herbert T. Moskovitz "Herbphilly" (Philadelphia, PA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: A Christmas Carol (Audio CD)
A Christmas Carol Audiobook
read by Jim Dale
I once heard it said that to appreciate Dickens best, one should read his stories aloud. I have never had the time to try to do this, but having just listened to a new unabridged reading of A Christmas Carol from Random House, I can see the validity of the statement. Playing the CD's I felt as if the narrator was, in the words of Dickens himself, "standing in the spirit at your elbow."
And what a narrator! The multi-talented Jim Dale reads the story...no, that is not correct...Jim Dale PERFORMS the story. I counted 42 voices in the three-hour recording. Jim Dale is well known for his over 200 voices (and counting) bringing to life all of the characters in the Harry Potter books, which he also records for Random House's Listening Library.
I first saw Jim Dale in the 1977 Disney movie Pete's Dragon where he played the bumbling villain. The next year he played three hilarious characters in another Disney film, Hot Lead and Cold Feet. I was lucky to see him in two musicals on Broadway, in Barnum, and Me and My Girl. Both very memorable performances. I plan to see him next month as he sings and dances Scrooge in Madison Square Garden's Christmas Carol - The Musical. I figure if he is great in the audiobook, he will be even better on stage. An actor has only two tools...his voice and his body. In the audiobooks, of course, only the voice can be used.
And Dale's voice talents are well showcased here. I often found myself laughing out loud, thanks to the combined genius of Dickens and Dale. In a couple of cases, the genius is pure Dale. At one point he adds a bit of a dog's panting that really cracked me up.
I have seen and/or heard other wonderful actors do one-man renditions of A Christmas Carol. A number of years ago a friend played a tape for me of John Gielgud doing an abridged version. I saw Patrick Stewart do his acclaimed one man show on Broadway; from the first row! And I have seen the author's great-great grandson, Gerald Dickens do his skilled and energetic version several times. They are all memorable and it would be impossible to say which was the best. But I can heartily recommend that Jim Dale's version be added to the family library. It is complete, it is accurate and it is a virtuoso performance.
Although I certainly know the story well, I found by listening to the audiobook I was paying closer attention to the lesser known parts...the parts that, to be honest, I usually would skim over when rereading the book. In fact, there were several sections where I felt as if I were hearing them for the first time. Marvelous sections. I couldn't believe I had missed them in the past. Maybe Jim Dale's voice just made them more vibrant than my own inner voice.
I suppose that asking me to review Jim Dale reading A Christmas Carol really isn't fair. One of my favorite performers reading my favorite story by my favorite author! But surely I am not alone. Dickens is universally known as England's greatest novelist. I wouldn't be surprised if Jim Dale was gaining a reputation as one of the world's greatest readers of audiobooks. They are both master storytellers. And to quote the Dickens himself, "If that's not high praise, tell me higher, and I'll use it."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol, Feb. 18 2004
By A Customer
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens is a really good book I thought. Your learn not to be greedy, selfish, and how to spread tons of love around Christmas. It teaches you not to take grantite of what you have. You should be thankful for what you got. The three ghosts of past, present, and the futer of Christmas. Ebenezer Scrooge is haunted by all the ghost plus his old friend Jacob Marley. This book is heart warmer to all or at least it should be. I hope everyone takes the time to read this heart warming book and enjoy it time after time.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Bah humbug, May 16 2010
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME)    (TOP 10 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: A Christmas Carol (Paperback)
"A Christmas Carol" is not just A Christmas story, but one of THE Christmas stories -- not only is it instantly recognizable by pretty much everybody, but it's relentlessly copied and spoofed in countless Christmas specials. But taken just by itself, Charles Dickens' yuletide novella is a pretty bleak and bittersweet affair, with brilliant imagery and lots of ghostly weirdness.

Scrooge is... well, a scrooge -- a professional miser who hates Christmas, goodwill, charity, puppies, kittens, his relatives, his employees, and virtually everything else except money.

And on Christmas Eve, his dead partner Jacob Marley comes back, wrapped with supernatural chains, and claims that Scrooge is doomed to the same fate. But he has a chance at redemption: three ghosts representing will visit him that night, taking him on a guided tour of Christmases past, present and yet to come.

So Scrooge is transported on a trio of hourlong trips through time. The childlike Ghost of Christmas Past takes him to his bleak childhood, when he was less jaded and hard. The jolly Ghost of Christmas Present takes him to people's homes on the very next morning, specifically of of his nephew and the poor miner Bob Cratchit. And finally a Ringwraith-like spirit gives him a glimpse of Christmas years in the future... a bleak and terrible future, unless he changes his ways.

You can read plenty of symbolism into a story like "A Christmas Carol"; I've heard speculation about Dickens' father, the Industrial Revolution, spiritualism, and all sorts of other stuff. But at its heart, "A Christmas Carol" is the most powerful when appreciated for its story alone -- a story about a greedy, miserable man who redeems himself by learning to love all humanity.

Dickens' writing is utterly brilliant here. Most of the book is bleak, grimy and painted in shadows, with Dickens only rarely holding back from showing the dark situation of England's poor. A great example is the symbolic children Want and Ignorance ("a stale and shrivelled hand, like that of age, had pinched, and twisted them, and pulled them into shreds"). As for the Grim-Reaperlike third ghost, it's the stuff of nightmares.

But all isn't dark here. Occasionally Dickens splashes it with moments of crystalline brilliance ("It held a branch of fresh green holly in its hand; and... its dress trimmed with summer flowers"). And as dark as the book is, Dickens offers hope for the future.

He also does a brilliant job with Scrooge, " a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire." Having worked hard to make us hate Scrooge, Dickens then deftly displays his skill at slowly revealing how Scrooge became who and what he is, and slowly redeeming him.

Charles Dickens created one of the greatest Christmas stories with "A Christmas Carol" -- bah humbugs, merry Christmases and all. God bless us, every one!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Greed Versus Humanity: An Ancient Story That's Forever Fresh, Dec 4 2008
By 
Graham Worthington (Toronto, Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: A Christmas Carol (Paperback)
Dickens, it's said, created the British image of Christmas.

It would be a ridiculous but interesting challenge to name the world's most successful or influential work of fiction, but if it were attempted, this novella would be a strong contender. Crafted with all the brilliant wit and imagery of which Dickens was capable, it chronicles the redemption of an aging skinflint, rendered bitter and cruel by his passion for money, to whom life has become a trudge towards the grave.

Joy and love Ebenezer Scrooge has barred from his life, and for this, as his dead partner's ghost warns him, he is doomed to wander the Earth after death, chained by his hoarded loot. Yet he is to be rescued by the spirit - spirits actually: three of them - that burn hot and bright with forgiveness and hope amid the snow and of this darkest, final month.

Dickens wrote this tale as a protest in 1843, against the even then growing obsession with material wealth, and neglect of life's freely given riches. Tnd today its message is as strong and apt as ever. To me, Christmas has not arrived until I've seen it told yet again in one of its many film adaptations, be it the black & white 1951 version starring Alastair Sim, or one of the later versions in which George C. Scott, Albert Finney, Patrick Stewart and many others have portrayed the old miser. This rich and unashamed snatch at our heartstrings never fails to pluck mine.

Graham Worthington, Author, Wake of the Raven
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5.0 out of 5 stars IT WOULDN'T BE CHRISTMAS WITHOUT..., Oct. 31 2007
By 
Gail Cooke (TX, USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: A Christmas Carol (Audio CD)
Some songs, customs, and stories are so beloved, so familiar that they have become an integral part of our holiday celebrations. It wouldn't be the 4th of July without a parade; it wouldn't be Valentine's Day without a heart shaped box; and it wouldn't be Christmas without hearing "Silent Night" and a reading of "A Christmas Carol."

Every once in a while another version or recording comes along that makes the familiar seem new, we hear it as though for the first time. That is certainly the case with this performance of "A Christmas Carol" by the irrepressible Jonathan Winters. He inhabits every character from Scrooge to his housekeeper to Tiny Tim, offering in his own incomparable manner the way he thinks each character would sound.

Never has a Scrooge been meaner, a ghost more menacing or Tiny Tim more winning. Mr. Winters has been called "a one-man theatrical troupe" - indeed, he is as he not only presents amazingly different voices but sound effects as well. This is a one-of-a-kind version of "A Christmas Carol."

Enjoy!

- Gail Cooke
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5.0 out of 5 stars Evoking the true spirit of Christmas since 1843, Dec 20 2003
By 
Daniel Jolley "darkgenius" (Shelby, North Carolina USA) - See all my reviews
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Aside from the Bible, Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol is probably the most familiar and well-known book ever published. Scores of film adaptations have been made over the years, taking Dickens' story of one man's redemption to all the corners of the globe. The name Ebenezer Scrooge immediately brings to mind the miserly curmudgeon whose life and very nature were radically changed after the visitation of four ghosts one early Christmas morning. Jacob Marley, Scrooge's former partner, returns in spirit form to warn Scrooge of the ponderous chain he is forging in life by his penny-pinching, selfish, Christmas-hating ways. Then, of course, the ghosts of Christmas past, Christmas present, and Christmas future come to call for an increasingly troubled soul who comes to see the worthlessness of his purely materialistic life. A Christmas Carol offers a truly amazing character study. Scrooge, this seemingly incorrigible fellow, quickly becomes a sympathetic character as we view the circumstances of his life. From a lonely boy rejected by his father (who blames him for the death of his wife in childbirth), we see a sensitive soul, one quite capable of feeling and expressing both happiness and love, grow greedy and cold, shutting even the woman he loves out of his life. Completely broken down by the scenes revealed by the ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, Scrooge's transformation is remarkably real and powerful.
Little need be said about this timeless classic, as it is a story virtually everyone knows in some detail. The message is clear to all of us, as well. Dickens, the social conscience of the 19th century, illustrates the humanity and worth of even the lowliest of society's members and casts the harsh light of truth on those with the means but not the desire to help their fellow man, giving new life to the cliché "you can't take it with you." Dickens briefly alludes to the religious aspects of the holiday, but he vividly evokes the true and rightful spirit of Christmas in humanistic terms. This is a timeless story that will forever be a part of each Christmas season. Not only does it impart lessons of the highest order, it never fails to charm and delight you no matter how many times you have previously read the story (and watched the movie adaptations) over the years.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Step Above Most Other Versions, Nov. 27 2003
By 
This review is from: A Christmas Carol (Paperback)
I am not going to review the Charles Dickens novel 'A Christmas Carol' in this review. I did that already (see my other reviews to read that), and, of course, I gave it 5 stars.
What I'd like to comment on is the extra's this version brings. For instance, the original art work from the first edition by artist John Leech are here, placed where they were originally. There are also the actual 1843 and 1844 critics reviews in this book so one can see what was originally thought about this classic at the time of its release.
Author Richard Kelly gives his perspective on the reasoning behind Dickens writing this ghostly Christmas story - the why's and wherefore's of the characters and scenes, which, for me, gave a little more of an understanding of what may have been going through Mr. Dickens mind at the time.
Mr. Kelly also writes a bit on child labor, education, and the workhouse, which, again, opens the mind a bit more in reading this story.
There is also a chapter that has many writings by Dickens contemporaries, such as Washington Irving, and their own descriptions of Christmas in their time.
Believe it or not, there is quite a bit more in this book than what I've told you, including, of course, "Carol" itself. It makes a very interesting read and can help one to understand the purpose behind Dickens original classic, as well as of the times in which he wrote.
A lot to read at a very good price. There are many many versions of 'A Christmas Carol' available, but this one takes it a bit further than most.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Step Above Most Other Versions, Nov. 27 2003
By 
This review is from: A Christmas Carol (Paperback)
I am not going to review the Charles Dickens novel 'A Christmas Carol' in this review. I did that already (see my other reviews to read that), and, of course, I gave it 5 stars.
What I'd like to comment on is the extra's this version brings. For instance, the original art work from the first edition by artist John Leech are here, placed where they were originally. There are also the actual 1843 and 1844 critics reviews in this book so one can see what was originally thought about this classic at the time of its release.
Author Richard Kelly gives his perspective on the reasoning behind Dickens writing this ghostly Christmas story - the why's and wherefore's of the characters and scenes, which, for me, gave a little more of an understanding of what may have been going through Mr. Dickens mind at the time.
Mr. Kelly also writes a bit on child labor, education, and the workhouse, which, again, opens the mind a bit more in reading this story.
There is also a chapter that has many writings by Dickens contemporaries, such as Washington Irving, and their own descriptions of Christmas in their time.
Believe it or not, there is quite a bit more in this book than what I've told you. It makes a very interesting read and can help one to understand the purpose behind Dickens original classic, as well as of the times of which he wrote.
A lot to read at a very good price. There are many many versions of 'A Christmas Carol' available, but this one takes it a bit further than most.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A book that everyone should read, Sept. 17 2003
By 
Bill R. Moore (New York, USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
There is no reason to go into the plot or particulars of A Christmas Carol: I know of no one who is not conversant with it. Almost everyone, from young children to senior citizens, has at least seen it in a screen adaptation. It has become an integral part of the Christmas season, an immortal classic, beloved by both young and old. That said, if you have never read the original text, you owe it to yourself to do so. This story, though short and simple, is a timeless classic for a reason: it is immaculately written, has a great theme, and is undeniably heartwarming. Dickens is at his brief best here, deftly and skillfully weaving this immortal story in a spellbinding manner, making great and timeless art out of what would have been an overly-sugary-sweet mess in the hands of a lesser writer. This story is good enough, and well-written enough, to melt the cold hard of any cynic. The prose style he uses in this book is just about perfect: it makes for a fast-paced read which can easily be read in one setting, while also managing to be entertaining, and even suspenseful -- with a fine moral to boot. The story is also more than it seems: in addition to the simple morality tale, Dickens manages to weave in some social criticism, while also intermixing elements of horror and not a slight bit of humor. This is one of the few books that I truly recommend to everyone. Everyone can read it, and everyone can enjoy it. An essential classic.
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Christmas Carol
Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (Hardcover - Oct. 10 1997)
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