A Christmas Carol Review
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The Ghost of Christmas Pleasant

‘Tis the season, as they say, and what better way to get yourself into the spirit of this magical holiday than by cozying up to the fireplace, cup of hot chocolate in hand, and reading this classic yuletide tale?

We’ve all seen the various movies, cartoons, and Muppet adventures that have paid homage to Dickens’ original vision, but how many of us are there who can say (be honest now) that we've actually read the book? Now, I know you’re busy this month finishing up the Christmas shopping, visiting relatives, and trimming trees, but take this advice from me, and I promise that your holiday will be that much richer the experience for it: read the book. Who knows, you may be surprised to find that it’s much more satisfying than scurrying around a shopping mall trying to find the perfect pair of slippers for crazy old Aunt Ida!

  
 
To give you an idea of how wonderfully unexpected the language in this book is, here's a teaser:

“Old Marley was as dead as a door-nail. Mind! I don’t mean to say that I know, of my own knowledge, what there is particularly dead about a door-nail. I might have been inclined, myself, to regard a coffin-nail as the deadest piece of ironmongery in the trade. But the wisdom of our ancestors is the simile; and my unhallowed hands shall not disturb it, or the Country’s done for. You will therefore permit me to repeat, emphatically, that Marley was as dead as a door-nail.”

It is from this point that Dickens begins to paint a portrait of the life of one of literature’s most notorious misers, Ebenezer Scrooge. This entire book is Scrooge’s great epiphany—and it makes even the most frozen hearted reader thaw-out and enjoy the spirit of Christmas.

Late one Christmas eve, Scrooge is visited by the ghost of his former business partner, Jacob Marley. Marley explains that unless Scrooge changes his miserly ways and learns the value of kindness and generosity, he, like Marley himself, will be eternally damned to an afterlife in Hell. To help him, Marley tells Scrooge that he will be visited by three spirits, (Christmas past, present, and yet to come), who will attempt to show him the error of his ways.

Enter the ghost of Christmas past, who wakes Scrooge from his sleep in order to show him events from his early life, which contributed to his descent from a good-hearted man to the miserable, crotchety, rich old miser he’s become.

Next, Scrooge again awakens to find his abode disturbed by another spirit (Christmas present), who shows him the ill-effects his stubborn, cheap, and often cruel actions have had on the Cratchit family (Bob Cratchit is Scrooge’s underpaid and under-apreciated clerk) and other members of London society, including Scrooge’s own nephew.

Finally, the ghost of Christmas future brings Scrooge to a graveyard and shows him the ultimate result of his life, should he continue on his present course.

Scrooge becomes so frightened by these visions, that upon waking to find it is Christmas morning and realizing that it’s not too late for him, he launches into one of the most enjoyable transformations of character in literary history.

The book can be easily read in less than a day, though the narrative slowed in several places, making it slightly difficult at times, and the language was a bit dry and outdated here and there. However, readers familiar with the Victorian period should have no trouble deciphering its passages, and the language should not detract people from enjoying this Christmas classic. Now, I have two words for those of you who ignore my advice and refuse to read this book: Bah! Humbug!

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