Writer: Charles Dickens
Publishing House: Penguin Classics
Date of Publication:November 25th 2010 (first published December 19th 1843)
Rating: 5 stars
‘’He told me, coming home, that he hopes the people saw him in the church, because he was a cripple, and it might be pleasant to them to remember upon Christmas Day, who made lame beggars walk and blind men see.’’
My most cherished copy of A Christmas Carol is an illustrated Greek children’s book that dates back to 1993. A gift by my grandmother who had a vicious live for all things ghostly and supernatural, it was the story that prompted my fascination with spirits and festive terrifying stories. The Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come still gives me goosebumps. For generations and generations raised with this book as the essence of Christmas, Scrooge and his haunting adventure is the personification of the true meaning of Christmas.
As Scrooge goes on a journey through time under the guidance of the three spirits, the readers may be challenged to look back on their own very real adventures. The memories of Christmas Past, past joys, hopes, regrets, and mistakes. Present reasons to be happy, present troubles that demand a solution. And what of the life that is yet to come? Well, the future is a dark hole, faceless and voiceless and waiting to come to fruition through a dynamic combination of Lady Luck’s whims and our own actions. But if we are to believe our troubled protagonist, hope is always there.
Tons and tons of ink have been spilled for Dickens’s masterpiece. For me, it is the characters that make this novel an everlasting, trusted friend. We all have a happy, carefree, open-minded relative or friend like Scrooge’s nephew or Mr. Fezziwig. We can find an anchor to prevent ourselves from falling into despair in the example of the Cratchit family and Tiny Tim’s resilience. And let us face it. We all carry an ounce (or more…) of Scrooge in us.
This beautiful volume also contains beautiful musings on Christmas Festivities, the deliciously disturbing The Story of the Goblins Who Stole A Sexton, a Christmas episode from Master Humphrey’s Clock, The Haunted Man and the Ghost’s Bargain, a tale of a troubled professor and the spirit of the holidays, the autobiographical A Christmas Tree, the thought-provoking The Seven Poor Travellers, a handy Dickens Chronology, informative Appendixes, an excellent Introduction by Michael Slater and decorated with illustrations by Arthur Rackham and John Leech.
And it would be useful if fanatics of both sides bothered to pay attention to the following extract…
”There are some upon the earth of yours”, returned the Spirit, ”who lay claim to know us, and who do their deeds of passion, pride, will-will, hatred, envy, bigotry, and selfishness in our name, who are as strange to us and all our kith and kin, as if they had never lived. Remember that, and charge their doings on themselves, not us.”