Author: Charles Dickens
A Christmas Carol is a story I have known well for almost my entire life. I have seen stage plays and numerous film versions. The Muppets' rendition is a family favorite (read here). And yet, I'd never actually read the book.
Our dear friend English Prof had a marvelous idea: a read-along via Zoom. Yes, we're all tired of Zoom but it definitely has its place in this COVID Christmas season. Never in human history has it been so easy to bring together loved ones from far-flung corners of the globe. And perhaps we all appreciate the small comforts a little bit more in this troubling time. I've actually been wanting to do a Dickens read-along as a family for years so this was a welcome opportunity to experience the work more intimately. I think there were about 35 of us in on the call. English Prof knows a lot of theater types so the readings were dramatic and engaging. My daughter and I both took turns.
You know the tale, right? Ebenezer Scrooge is a grumpy and miserly money-lender in London. He's impatient and resentful towards everyone: his employees, his customers, indeed what few relatives he has. And, of course, he hates Christmas. On Christmas Eve, he is visited by spirits who teach him the true meaning of the holiday. Upon waking, he is a new man, both generous and joyful.
It really is a beautiful book and wonderfully fun to read aloud. Dickensian London is as miserable as ever, yet the story is hopeful. It's gratifying to know how faithful the Muppet version is to the original text. My daughter confessed she can't help thinking of the Cratchit family as pigs and frogs. I assured her that Dickens would have wanted it that way.
I would love to make this an annual event. My wife may take some convincing.