Book Review: A Christmas Carol

‘Come in, and know me better man!’

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I’d never really considered reading A Christmas Carol before because the various film adaptations are so ubiquitous that I felt the book wouldn’t offer anything new. Upon reading Dickens’ classic however, it soon became clear that I have gleaned the entirety of my knowledge of the story from The Muppets glorious adaptation released in 1992.

Whilst some of the most memorable lines from that version are lifted wholesale from the book, there are enough differences between the actual story and Jim Henson’s anthropomorphic retelling to make the experience of reading the book an enjoyable and compelling one. Not only that, but Dickens’ beautiful prose is always a pleasure, and his evident compassion for the characters seeps through the pages in a way that makes it easy to understand why the story continues to be such a huge presence in literature and film.

Because I have pretty much exclusively relied on The Muppets for my interpretation of Charles Dickens’ work, there were a few embarrassing moments for me whilst reading the book. Firstly, there are no Marley brothers. There is Jacob Marley. The second Marley exists purely to shoehorn both Statler and Waldorf into the story. Secondly, Fozziewig is actually Fuzziwig. The inclusion of Fozzie Bear prompted the name change. The discovery of these discrepancies was quite unnerving as it begs the question of how many other historical works I have misunderstand due to them being re-imagined by Kermit the Frog.

After tackling Dickens’ Hard Times earlier in the year and struggling with it, A Christmas Carol restored my faith in the Portsmouth born writer and acted as the perfect palette cleanser after Hard Times was so difficult to swallow.

A Christmas Carol is as just a part of Christmas as pigs in blankets, the Queens speech and my Dad falling asleep at 6pm whilst steadfastly gripping onto his whiskey glass. I’d urge anyone who considers themselves a Christmas completist to read Dickens’ most famous book.

Merry Christmas and God bless! Every one!