Oxford Children's Classic: A Christmas Carol Paperback – 7 Sep 2017
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About the Author
Charles Dickens was born in Portsmouth in 1812. In 1823 his father was imprisoned for debt and Dickens was sent to work in a blacking warehouse. When his father's fortunes improved, Dickens went back to school and then worked as a solicitor's clerk, a shorthand reporter, and a parliamentary reporter. In 1833 he began contributing stories to newspapers and magazines and in 1836 his first novel, Pickwick Papers, was published in monthly instalments followed by Oliver Twist in 1837 and A Christmas Carol in 1843. Charles Dickens died in 1870 and has been acclaimed as one of hte greatest English novelists.
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I was looking for a hardback replacement for my battered old paperback edition. This looked like a quality edition from the photo. It isn't.
Despite the photo appearance, the cover is completely smooth and cold to the touch. The "gold" is printed yellow. The binding is stiff and looks likely to split with use. The whole thing looks and feels like a school book.
Inside, the paper is dazzling white and the print stark black. It is not comfortable to read. For some reason, the publishers have changed the original spacing of the punctuation. Although the original spacing looks odd to modern eyes, it spaces the text nicely, and the modernisation makes the text a bit cramped and seems to change the reading rhythm.
I won't be keeping it.
I also wanted to review the DELUXE EDITION Pub: Arcturus, which is vastly better and beautifully presented (and cheaper). Unfortunately, Amazon doesn't distinguish between different editions and won't let me post a separate review. The last four photos above are of that edition.
The short answer is: yes! I was surprised by how many direct quotes I recognised and this is definitely a festive story, to be enjoyed at Christmas time. I've decided through this small glimpse of his work that Mr Dickens had a WONDERFUL sense of humour and a gift when it came to writing. I was totally engrossed in the story! I meant only to load it up on my Kindle ready, but ended up reading the whole thing quite by accident! Even better, there really are some wonderful messages here, buried deep if you know where to look. For example, this is probably one of the best portrayals of female characters with ACTUAL PERSONALITY I've seen written by a man in the Victorian era.
As with all Victorian novels (thanks to the 'paid by word' rule for serial writers, or so I'm told) this is pretty wordy and repetitive at times. However, as I've said, Dickens was pretty brilliant in his method and there was almost a self awareness about this and he turned it into a humorous joke. I didn't find it irritating like I usually do, that's for sure! This book had fantastic character, and I loved the story, the spirits, descriptions and heartfelt, festive conclusion.
In many ways Dickens helped to ‘invent’ Christmas as we know it today, this tale being a part of that. With Scrooge first being approached by the ghost of his deceased former business partner he is warned that he will be visited by three spirits. Written in an easy to read style we see how Ebenezer Scrooge changes his ways and by looking at his past we can start to see why he is like he is. But as the Christmas spirits of the past, present and future show Scrooge things he knows that a change must be made. From greed and selfishness, with lost opportunities and lost love, this tale shows us how redemption can be gained as Scrooge himself starts to transform.
A hit on first publication and also acclaimed by critics Dickens here plays with our emotions giving us a feel good sensation as we are told to be more generous and kindlier hearted, something that always seems to happen more over the Christmas period. Always an enjoyable read this is something that the whole family should love.