Title: A Christmas Carol
Author: Charles Dickens
Published: 1994 Everyman's Library (orig. 1843)
My Rating: 4.5 stars
Did you know that A Christmas Carol has never been out of print?
Did you know that it wasn't until I actually started reading this aloud to my 10 & 11 year old kiddos that I realized I'd never really read the complete, unadapted version? I thought I had. I was wrong.
Apart from the short length, this is fully Charles Dickens. There are the stretches of description, the funny lists and names, the extreme characters. I was under the impression that it was a children's story, but nothing I can find (other than the fact that it is often published, like the Everyman's copy, for the children's audience) says that it was aimed at children. Quite the reverse, actually.
So...many rectified misconceptions later, I find myself at last capable of discerning which adaptations are most faithful. Of course I don't have the time to do the comparisons, so I set my kiddos to the task. Because I find humor in comparing extremes, I put before them these two versions: (perhaps not as extreme as I could have gone, but funny none-the-less...a Barbie adaptation of anything is bound to be pretty terrible.) Disney's Jim Carey version, and Barbie's version.
Both my 10 year-old daughter (who is a stickler for accuracy) and my [nearly] 12 year-old son (who is a harsh judge of movies in general) were very impressed with the quality of Disney's version with Jim Carey. They loved how the phrasing stayed the same, and even kept the book on hand to compare the dialogue. I guess that means I'm going to have to make the time to watch it (maybe I'll get to it next week--after this coming weekend's mega-Christmas Party becomes an item for the Ghost of Christmas Past).
Barbie, on the other hand, (as I'm sure you've already guessed,) is not even in the running in the accuracy contest. It's more of the inspired by type of adaptation. Which means I'm saved from watching it. (whew!)
While I can't say that we will make A Christmas Carol part of a yearly tradition, (I'm not really the yearly tradition type anyhow) I can say that I'm glad we read it. It's a good story, and a nice bite-sized chunk of Dickens that my kiddos have now been exposed to. Reading it in high school won't be half so intimidating now, right?