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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 18, 2004
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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"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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on April 11, 2002
This slim volume is an example of Victorian literature at its finest. Dickens' literary voice croons with the tempo of the story, dark and foreboding as the ghosts escort Scrooge on his journey and upbeat and merry as he reforms his ways. It is a story of hope in the human spirit, urging you not to give up on people, not to count them out because they may surprise you. Although I doubt that many a moral eyesore can be transformed so easily and heartily as Scrooge, Dickens artfully exploited the marshmallowy feeling many experience during the Christmas season, which makes this a believable and much loved story.
Dickens immersed Victorian themes in many ways and with great skill. The worship of children as innocent creatures was apparent in the way that Tiny Tim was glorified. His pitiful image and heart of gold appeal to our senses as well as it did to the Victorians.
A thirst for the supernatural was quenched through the use of the three spirits. They are not exactly Christian in nature, yet they seek to do good. This secular flirtation could indicate that Victorians' faith was being shaken and in its place a value system based on choosing favorable Christian principles and disregarding the rest. As is human tendency, we do not usually care about anything until it is almost gone (such as endangered species), and when Christian faith was questioned, interest began to percolate in the Victorians. I believe we still like basic Christian ideals, but going to church is asking for a lot. We continue to have more of an interest in phantoms than angels.
Also integrated was the belief that the middle class is more virtuous because they work for their money. Bob Cratchit did not need moral instruction; Scrooge, an old miser, did. It teaches that sacrifices made for money will be costly. Scrooge lost a woman who loved him by being greedy. She dismissed him regretfully; "You fear the world too much. All your other hopes have merged into the hope of being beyond its sordid reproach. I have seen your nobler aspirations fall off one by one, until the master-passion, Gain, engrosses you" (Dickens 37). This theme is timeless as a recent movie, Family Man, heavily drew upon it as a successful businessman who had discarded the fancies of a wife and children, woke up one morning to having both and realized he had been in error. The Victorians and many contemporary Americans ache to believe that the pursuit of wealth is not as fulfilling as two hands with wedding bands clasped and changing dirty diapers. Whether or not this is accurate I cannot say because I have neither.
Dickens was a Victorian mastermind and he knew what Christmas was all about. It is about looking for the best in people and the world. It is one time that it is okay to be cheesy, okay to be touched by stories of hope and love. So next Christmas, when the snow falls like sugar and the sentimental tears fall like rain, pick up A Christmas Carol and watch the Victorians come out of the woodwork. They look a lot like us and this is why Dickens' novel has survived.
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on December 22, 2001
"You will be haunted by Three Spirits." So forewarns Jacob Marley's ghost to Mr. Ebenezer Scrooge, a miser of stingy, unfavorable traits. And so begins the enduring Christmas classic distinguished by almost everyone. Come along on an erratic journey with the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future, all of whom attempt to point Scrooge onto a virtuous path. Meet the most notable characters ever introduced in literature: Bob Cratchit, angelic Tiny Tim, and good-natured Fred. With vivid descriptions of Victorian England and enlightening dialogue, 'A Christmas Carol' will enrapture both the young and old throughout the year with a vital lesson on hope and benevolence for humanity. This, I find, is treasured most of all in this brief story marvelously crafted by the creative Charles Dickens. No matter how many adaptations of the book one has seen on television or as films, the real source is highly recommended and should not be missed. For if you do pass the book up, you are being just a Scrooge (metamorphically speaking, of course!).
--P.J. Persad
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on December 22, 2001
"You will be haunted by Three Spirits." So forewarns Jacob Marley's ghost to Mr. Ebenezer Scrooge, a miser of stingy, unfavorable traits. And so begins the enduring Christmas classic distinguished by almost everyone. Come along on an erratic journey with the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future, all of whom attempt to point Scrooge onto a virtuous path. Meet the most notable characters ever introduced in literature: Bob Cratchit, angelic Tiny Tim, and good-natured Fred. With vivid descriptions of Victorian England and enlightening dialogue, 'A Christmas Carol' will enrapture both the young and old throughout the year with a vital lesson on hope and benevolence for humanity. This, I find, is treasured most of all in this brief story marvelously crafted by the creative Charles Dickens. No matter how many adaptations of the book one has seen on television or as films, the real source is highly recommended and should not be missed. For if you do pass the book up, you are being just a Scrooge (metamorphically speaking, of course!).
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on January 10, 2000
My review is about a grumpy old guy that has nothing to do with Christmas.He dosnt belive in being happy or cheerful.One night while sitting in his Lazy Boy he was visited by his dead best freind,who tells him that he will be seen by three spirits.His last name is Scrooge with that,he was nicknamed and always will have the name of scrooge.His dead freind(Jacob Marley)said that the spirits would be:The ghost of christmas past,present and future.I think that after the experience with the spirits, he was a better man.
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on January 10, 2000
My review is about a selfish, grumpy, old man who has no Christmas spirit what so ever. His last name is Scrooge. His business partners name was Jacob Marley. He was already dead. Marley came as a ghost one night, and told Scrooge that he would be visited by three spirits. One night after that he was visited by the three spirits. The spirits were: The Ghost of Christmas Past, Present, and Future. After Scrooge was visited I think he might have loved Christmas for a long time.
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on January 26, 2009
This was a short book I decided to pick up because it was nearing christmas time, and I wanted to read a classic christmas novel. Going into it with all the flawed knowledge that television told me of the tale, I was suprised with such an immediate change in scrooge's character from the appearance of even the first ghost.
Regardless, it was an enjoyable read on christmas eve, and I will probably read it again next christmas eve.
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on December 10, 2002
Dover Thrift Editions of Charles Dickens Christmas Classic, "A Christmas Carol" is short and to the point. My kind of book. The world over knows the premise of Dickens classic but (especially) at this time of year is a story most people will enjoy reading again. The slim 68 pages makes it possible to share this story with a love one in less than an hour. Puts even the most hateful love one in the holiday spirit.
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on January 10, 2000
I like this story because its not all real. Even though its a christmas story it is neat because it is a story about ghosts and sprits , and I like stories like that. I liked the middle of the book mostly because of the sprits and the ghosts. I thought some of the words were a little hard to understand , but other than that I liked the book (story) a lot!
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