Book Review of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

We all know the story. Scrooge is a mean spirited old man who doesn’t like Christmas or anything happy, for that matter. He works with Bob Cratchett, and will not allow him enough fire to stay warm. He pays him very little and detests that he wants one day off for Christmas. He used to have a partner, Marley, but he passed away. Christmas eve Scrooge goes home and Marley’s ghost comes to visit him. Marley’s ghost carries heavy chains and tells Scrooge that he will be visited by three ghosts that night. So the ghost of Christmas past comes, then the ghost of Christmas present, and then the ghost of Christmas yet to be. Scrooge sees the Cratchett family with Tiny Tim, he sees himself dead, and he sees many of his good past memories. These memories and feelings are enough to give Scrooge the motivation to change his life.

I have heard the story before, I’ve seen a few different movie versions, and I actually acted as Mrs. Cratchett in third grade. So I like the story a lot; however, I have never read the real Charles Dickens’ version. I really enjoyed it. I love the language in many of the classics. I love the attention to detail, the descriptions, and the feeling of this book. It did take a minute to get back into the language, but I loved it. I love the message of this story. I love that it teaches living life to the fullest and the importance of families. I love that it teaches that it’s never too late to change. This is the perfect story for Christmas time. I think I’ll make it an annual read, and maybe read it to my kids next year.

Rating: PG  (It’s a great clean book for all ages. It might be a little scary for the little ones.)

Recommendation: Everyone can read and enjoy this book!

This review was originally posted on 12/24/11

Great Expectations

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
(Summary taken from the inside book cover) “Bound for life as a lowly blacksmith, Philip “Pip” Pirrip desperately wants to impress beautiful Estella, the spoiled ward of Miss Havisham, a wealthy and bizarre woman. But Estella has a heart of stone, and she makes Pip miserable every time he visits her at Miss Havisham’s dreary old mansion. Then fate steps in: a secret benefactor sets Pip up as a well-to-do gentleman with a fanciful life in London. But something sinister from his past is lurking in the shadows. Will Pip thrive in his new life? Is Estella his true love and soul mate? And will Pip’s past forever haunt him?”
I read Dicken’s “A Tale of Two Cities” years ago, and remember enjoying it, so I was excited to read “Great Expectations.” Unfortunately, this book just didn’t meet my great expectations (haha….I couldn’t resist). It was Pip. He drove me crazy. He was a spoiled brat. I thought he was ungrateful, mean, condescending, unintelligent, uncaring, and distasteful. I didn’t like him at all. And seeing how he was the main character, that made this a long and difficult read. It took me a very long time to read this book. I found it difficult to read, and slow going, because there were many words that I did not know. They may have been well known in Dicken’s time, but they are meaningless now, and so I just had to plow through and guess at their meanings. There were some things I liked about this book. I liked Joe. He was so patient, loving, selfless, and hard working. I liked Wemmick and Herbert as well. They brought humor, love, friendship, loyalty, and selflessness to the book, and I was thankful for that.
I do like the cover of this book. The cover is actually the reason I got to read this book. Splinter New York had Sara Singh design their covers for the classics, and I really like them. I think the picture of Pip is right on. I like the expression on his face, and think the simple elegance of it fits the time period well. I think it looks pretty and am definitely putting it on display in the cabinet in my entryway.
Rating: PG+ (A few profane words, violence, murder)
Recommendation: 13 and up, just because I don’t think anyone younger would be able to understand the language of the book, or care about it.
Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.