Dickens' Ghostly Little Book

Scrooge gets schooled by Father Christmas
This year I finally got around to reading the original A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. It's actually pretty good.

Started a little slow for the first few pages, but that's probably just because I've already seen the story in so many forms. But by the time Scrooge gets home on Christmas Eve and Marley's ghost shows up, Dickens hits his stride and it's a fun read. And, yes and still, by the end of the book I was in the Christmas spirit and wanted to be known as a man "who knew how to keep Christmas well."

What's particularly interesting is that Dickens managed to reach straight back through Christianity to the pagan, Yule roots of Christmas. Jesus doesn't get so much as a mention through the whole book (although there are a couple of allusions). No, it's all about family and coming together and feasting and a community solidarity that includes the poor. That's all stuff that my atheistic little heart can get behind.

In the New York Times, a week or so ago, they gave a rave review to a new book called Marley by Jon Clinch. It's a prequel to A Christmas Carol and the Times reviewer says that it's the kind of prequel that you will always think about now whenever you read A Christmas Carol. Sounds good to me.


Popular Posts