The read-a-long at Sheery’s Place of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol has begun. I pretty much devoured Stave One, and I want to get this post up before I continue reading 🙂 To hear what others in the read-a-long have to say, visit Sheery’s blog.
The beginning of A Christmas Carol was awesome, to say the least. I’ve never read any Dickens before, and now I’m thinking “well why the hell not?!”. He is brilliant. And I’m officially going to stop listening to my whiny friends when they start going, “mehh. Dickens is so boring and I hate the way he writes and he just sucks and…blahblahblahblah…”.
As I’m sure most people know, the story opens up with Scrooge at work on Christmas Eve. He is super duper nasty, just like in the movies. But I feel like he’s a lot meaner in the book. Just listening to (or read, I guess..) this: “Oh! But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-containd, and solitary as an oyster. The cold within him froze his old features, nipped his pointed nose, shrivelled his cheek, stiffened his gait; made his eyes red, his thin lips blue; and spoke out shrewdly in his grating voice. A frosty rime was on his head, and on his eyebrows, and his wiry chin. He carried his own low temperature always about with him; he iced his office in the dogdays; and didn’t thaw it one degree at Christmas.”
Now that is what I call a really great description. And the whole book (or at least what I’ve read of it) is filled with them. Dickens is a fantastic writer, and even though I know what happens because I’ve seen the Disney movie (loooovvvvveeee that cartoon!) a million times, I was still on the edge of my seat while reading. Scrooge is nasty, and Dickens’ writing brings it out in him so well.
I also am really loving the way Dickens will intervene in the story to add information. At the start of the chapter, he goes off on a tangent about how doornails aren’t really that “dead” to him, and the phrase should be “dead as a coffin-nail”. It had me cracking up.
Another part of the writing that I’m currently in love with is how Dickens pretty much tells us what is going to happen ahead of time. The story starts with “Marley was dead, to begin with.” And then a whole long explanation about how Marley was definitely dead, and Scrooge definitely knew he was dead. So that, of course, once Marley’s ghost shows up, we’re not like, “Well, what if Marley faked his death??”
So far, I am loving A Christmas Carol, and I’m off to start reading Stave Two. This book would be perfect for reading aloud. I’m going to my grandmother’s tomorrow and I’ll see if maybe she’d like me to start reading it aloud to her 🙂
I hope all you Americans had a great Thanksgiving!