Yes it’s March, but having started Charles Dickens’ classic, ‘A Christmas Carol’, during the Christmas break and having to put it down for other things, I got around to finishing it last week. And it was stunning. So instead of reviewing something that I don’t feel I could do justice to, I want to encourage everyone to get involved with this gorgeous piece of Victorian literature.
1) It’s a short story – I am in no way saying brevity is always a friend, but in this case if someone is wanting an easier introduction to Victorian literature (which can often be convoluted in expression and needing contextual knowledge of the era) then look no further. This is short but packs a punch, showing us very clearly that the human condition is our own to shape.
2) To know where the Christmas spirit came from – have you ever said or heard someone say ‘God bless us, every one’? Or talked about the true meaning of Christmas? This is the origin of the moralistic idea of Christmas in a modern age that has been corrupted by personal and financial greed – take a step back and look at where one author found the true meaning of the season to lie.
3) Celebrate the anti-hero – a lot of Victorian literature has weeping and wailing, fits and swooning, but here’s a place to believe in the redemptive power of emotions. From being a hard up git to realising that money can be the root of happiness as well as evil, Scrooge’s night-time journey moves him swiftly from grouchy to gratuitous, and his transformation is as believable as it is touching.
4) The message lasts – It’s not just a Christmas story – we should be living each day thinking of who we want to be and what impact we want to have on the world. Whether it’s helping family or supporting the sick, we should make the most of every life.
5) It’s beautiful – There are many books that are emotional and touching, but this is a thing of beauty. Through the message, the characterisation of the Crachits, the haunting fantasmagorical nature of the tale, and its sheer ability to last through the ages, it truly is a special story, and I can only hope it touches generations to come.