A Christmas Carol, The Chimes, and The Cricket on the Hearth - Charles Dickens

Title: A Christmas Carol, The Chimes, and The Cricket on the Hearth
Author: Charles Dickens
Pages: 304 pages
Published: 2004
Genre: Classic, Christmas
Rating: 4/5

Generations of readers have been enchanted by Dickens’s A Christmas Carol—the most cheerful ghost story ever written, and the unforgettable tale of Ebenezer Scrooge’s moral regeneration. Written in just a few weeks, A Christmas Carol famously recounts the plight of Bob Cratchit, whose family finds joy even in poverty, and the transformation of his miserly boss Scrooge as he is visited by the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future.

From Scrooge’s “Bah!” and “Humbug!” to Tiny Tim’s “God bless us every one!” A Christmas Carol shines with warmth, decency, kindness, humility, and the value of the holidays. But beneath its sentimental surface, A Christmas Carol offers another of Dickens’s sharply critical portraits of a brutal society, and an inspiring celebration of the possibility of spiritual, psychological, and social change.

This new volume collects Dickens’s three most renowned “Christmas Books,” including The Chimes, a New Year’s tale, and The Cricket on the Hearth, whose eponymous creature remains silent during sorrow and chirps amid happiness.

Reason that I read this book: I read it for a couple of Christmas reading challenges and for a reading challenge on Goodreads.  I also read it because it was the Christmas season and I wanted to read something with a Christmas theme.

Thoughts:  Overall, it is a very good collection of three of the five Christmas stories that Dickens wrote over a 5 or 6 year period in the 1840s.  I really enjoyed the first and the final stories, but for some reason the middle story didn't really capture my imagination.  Not that it is a wonderful story, but I just felt that The Chimes dragged a little bit and didn't seem to have the same sort of vibe that A Christmas Carol had.  I suppose it doesn't help that The Chimes isn't as well known as A Christmas Carol and the expectations were probably higher than I had for The Cricket on the Hearth.

Bottom Line: Overall, it is a good overview of 3 of the 5 Christmas stories and while it does include A Christmas Carol, which is important, I just felt that the expectations of the final stories were probably a little too high and that the writing for the second Christmas story wasn't exactly what I was expecting and the final story was nice and light and shorter than the previous two stories.


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