I’m sure most of you are familiar with the story of Ebeneezer Scrooge, as indeed I was before I picked up the novella. I had seen many adaptations of the classic Christmas tale, but had not read the book, not being a fan of ‘classics’ in general. Over the last year or two I’ve been trying to read more classics, though it was not wanting to watch another adaptation which prompted me to make this one of my December reads (I mean, Jim Carey… come on!). I was also a bit grumpy to be working retail for another Christmas season, and thought maybe, just maybe, this book might induce the festive spirit to visit me.
Within a page, I was presently surprised by the humour Dickens brings to his writing, which is something I wasn’t expecting at all. This isn’t a funny book, but Dickens inserts wry asides, and occasionally breaks the fourth wall in order to make a point – which made me smile just about every time.
Only vaguely knowing about Dickens’ other works, I was expecting a weighty tome, something to be slogged through. I can’t say how long the story actually was, without some Googling but it felt quite brief on my e-reader. Dickens is big on the descriptive passages though, and I admit my eyes did just slide past some of them.
In terms of differences between the adaptations and the original, there weren’t as many as I thought there might be – perhaps because the source material was shorter, there is more room to elaborate, with little of the need to excise material. The main point of difference I noticed was that Scrooge was so much quicker to repent of his miserly ways. In fact, the last ghost was almost superfluous, with Scrooge not even having a real clue that the deceased person was him until he was taken to the grave. That particular scene took on an almost comical tone, as I knew what Scrooge didn’t as he was saying ‘what a black creature this man must have been to rate such talk about his death’ etc. etc.
Most of the other difference from the original in the retellings comes from the emphasis placed on different aspects of the novel, such as Scrooge’s childhood romance, and I can’t think of any I’ve seen which detract from the story.
I don’t know if I can say the book filled me with Christmas spirit, but I was a little less grumpy afterwards (this could also be attributed to having finished my shopping by that stage as well). I can certainly see why this has remained a seasonal favourite for so long and I’m glad I finally read it.