Large Print Reviews
A Christmas Carol
By Charles Dickens
Read By John Lee
Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness - December 14, 2001
When Charles Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol in 1843, little did he realize that this little story would become an instant classic. At its essence, this is a story of hope. It revolves around the fate of one man, Ebenezer Scrooge, and it shows that even the worst among us has the potential of doing good. Dickens, in all his stories, reiterates the belief that there is a spark of goodness in everyone. It is just that some people need a little extra help in turning that spark into a flame.
This ghostly morality tale is perhaps one of the best loved Christmas stories around. It has been reprinted innumerous times and the movie adaptations of the book range in the hundreds. In part A Christmas Carol has achieved such acclaim due to Dickens's superb writing skills, the moral underpinnings of the story, and because it offers the reader a glimpse of Victorian England in the 1840's. But perhaps its biggest draw is that it is simply a wonderfully crafted, fast-paced story that takes the reader on a hair-raising thrill ride through one man's psyche as he comes to terms with his own demons and experiences a spiritual awakening.
Ebenezer Scrooge is a crotchety old man who lives in a dark friendless world of his own making. He is a miser and seems to revel in making others as miserable as he is, himself. One of the people that falls under the Scrooge's whip is Bob Cratchit. Unlike the hard-bitten Scrooge, Cratchit is a gentle man with a loving family and unfortunately, a very ill son by the name of Tiny Tim. Although a lowly clerk, with troubles of is own, Cratchit tries to bring goodness into Scrooge's life, but to no avail. To teach Scrooge the error of his ways requires the influence of a stronger authority. This authority appears in the ghostly form of Jacob Marley, Scrooge's deceased business partner.
When alive, Marley was a man much like Scrooge, more interested in money than in life. As a result, he is forced to endure eternity as a ghost, robed in chains. But he is a benevolent ghost, and he knows that there is still hope for Scrooge to avoid the horrific fate that Marley must daily endure. To this end, he visits Scrooge in an attempt to make him change his ways, and to inform him that he will shortly be visited by three Spirits. These Spirits will offer Scrooge a glimpse of himself at various stages in his life. This knowledge will help him learn how to alter his life's path, so that he does not follow in Marley's footsteps.
This story is marvelously suited for being read aloud. It is in the dramatic reading of this story that one truly gets to appreciate Dickens's use of language and skill at crafting realistic and gripping dialogues. This Books-on-Tape's audio edition of A Christmas Carol, is read by John Lee. His sensational reading of the story instantaneously transports the reader back to Christmases past, just as efficiently as the Spirits in the story whisk Scrooge from one scene to another. Lee has a mellow, deep voice that draws the reader into Dickens's world, and will hold you, spell bound, until Tiny Tim says, "God Bless Us, Every One!" Only then will you remember to breathe again...
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