I cannot remember the first time I heard or saw a retelling of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, but I am certain that I was very young. I am also certain that this classically frightening tale has been a major part of my imagination for many years. Thus, I was excited when ChristianAudio.com offered me the chance to review a reading of this work during this Christmas season as a part of their reviewers program.
Dickens is excellent, simply excellent, at weaving a story that sticks in the minds of his readers. At times the author describes scenes in formally vivid detail. At other times, Dickens breaks with convention and speaks to his readers as if we are sitting in the room together and conversing. Regardless of which technique Dickens uses, he makes it easy to become swept up in the tale.
Readers who are familiar with this story, whether from reading it themselves or from the myriad Hollywood or Broadway productions of the novel, will understand that this work is a fiction, and not intended for Christian teaching. For certain, Dickens points his readers to Christ as the reason for our hope, joy, and love during the Christmas season. However, it is fair to allow the point of unimaginative critics, that Dickens may paint for us a picture of a works-based salvation should we take his work too literally. I would simply say that we do not read this tale for soteriology, but for a classic reminder that there is more to life than money and that the worship of wealth is ultimately soul-destroying.
The version of this audio book that I listened to was read by Simon Vance (oddly the second book of his in a row that I have listened to). The reader does an excellent job of bringing emotion into the different character voices that he presents in this telling. I would highly recommend that those who would like to listen to this classic tale give Vance’s reading a try.