My son became interested in Charles Dickens after watching the recent “Doctor Who” episode which features Dickens as a character, and I thought we’d start with this book – mostly because it’s not incredibly long like some of Dickens’ other books. When my son started asking about Dickens, I realized that I’ve never actually read any of his books – I’m familiar with most of the stories one way or another, but I’d never actually sat down and read one. So, I was pleased to have this opportunity.
We really enjoyed this book! I read it aloud to him at bedtime, over the course of several days, and it was loads of fun. There is wonderful dialogue, and while Dickens does get wordy in places – he must be the king of the run-on sentence, and all those lists of things that go on and on – I found it was easy to see where he was going and feel the pleasant flow of his prose as I read aloud. He has a powerful way of describing things that made them seem very real to me. (My son’s favourite part is the very first appearance of Marley’s ghost – in the door knocker; I’m not sure I have a favourite part – oh wait, yes I do. I enjoyed times when the ghosts echoed some of Scrooge’s less charitable words back at him. What a wonderful way of illustrating the point)!
It’s a touching story, too – possibly more so in the book than in any of the film versions I’ve seen. The message of peace and goodwill towards others really comes across, and yet it’s not at all “preachy.” Speaking of films, we also watched two adaptations this past week, and I thought the one with Alastair Sim (1951, IIRC) was an excellent adaptation. There is a lot of dialogue that was taken directly from the text, and while there are some scenes created for the film, I thought they fit in well, and the film does a fine job of capturing the spirit of the book.
This book deserves the label “classic.” We enjoyed it very much, and will likely read it again.
Assuming, that is, we ever get through the next Dickens we plan to tackle – “Oliver Twist” – which has an awful lot of pages, and very small type! :D 9/10