Season’s Readings: A Christmas Carol

It should be easy to get into the Christmas Spirit with a good read. Lord knows there are more than plenty Christmas and Holiday themed paperbacks that pop on bookstore and library shelves all over the place. However, this does not make it easier for me to get into the Christmas spirit. Other than a few holiday classics from my childhood that I’m chemically endeared to thanks to nostalgia, I find most Christmas themed books so ridiculously saccharine that I often pass out in what I assume is a diabetic-book coma. All that sappy sweetness kills my brain.

I know what some of you might be thinking; I sound like a real Scrooge. Well, there’s an idea. I could read A Christmas Carol By Charles Dickens. I’m familiar with the story from my childhood, having seen it adapted and spoofed a million times over, but technically it is an adult book with next to no pictures written by a well respected and dead author that I haven’t read. Definitely something that could be considered adult, and it’s got ghosts and stuff terrifying a mean old guy so I probably don’t have to worry about it being to sappy or sweet. I can’t be sure because my first introduction to the story was a Mickey Mouse Cartoon, then a musical, then the Muppets, and so on and so forth. I won’t be able to say who was more faithful to the story, (Goofy or Kermit? Hmmmm…) or who most accurately depicted the story’s tone until I actually read it, won’t I? Here we go.

Okay, I read it. Yep, only took me three ellipses to do it too. What, does it take you longer? This is a riveting classic people. I bet you are all eagerly awaiting my impressions to see if you should read it yourself, or if the Muppets, Doctor Who, Jim Carey, Mister Magoo, Bill Murray, and numerous theater companies did a good enough job telling you the story. Spoiler alert: Charles Dickens does tell the story better, even more than show biz masters like Bugs Bunny or the Smurfs.

Dickens actually has a sharp wit and a decent sense of humor, and so A Christmas Carol actually had a couple jokes that made me laugh, without any pictures or cat GIFs or anything. For example, Dickens interrupts the beginning of his own story to muse that he never really understood the phrase “dead as a doornail,” because really shouldn’t it be a coffin nail that’s the most dead sort of nail? Cute, and now that will bug me forever but I’ll never be able to talk to anyone about it because who tries to bring up Charles Dickens quotes in normal conversations? Only a really special, stodgy sort of book nerd mostly found in the UK, I think. It’s still funny though.

At the same time though, A Christmas Carol has a very serious and at times rather political message that I think it’s kind of easy to miss while watching Mister Magoo’s performance. Again and again, Scrooge is vilified for refusing to share his wealth with those less fortunate with him, for hoarding his money, not spending it back into the economy or giving it away to use those who could use it just to stay alive, though he turns into a regular Bernie Sanders supporter by the end, redistributing his congealed lump of wealth like there’s no tomorrow. The book looks at how, in order for the human race to advance at all, people must exercise kindness and charity, and expect only monstrous results when they hold on to wealth and disparage the poor. It’s a very sincere message with very little corniness or sappiness in its original delivery.

If you are looking for a decent Christmas read that doesn’t give you paperback holiday book diabetes, definitely don’t be afraid to try the classic,  A Christmas Carol.

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Courtesy of Wikipedia

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