Book cover of the 2014 Penguin Books edition
You’ve probably seen at least one version of the movie. The earliest was the 1938 black-and-white one starring Reginald Owen and Gene Lockhart, followed by another black-and-white version in 1951 with Alastair Sim. Or the 1971 animated short, with Alastair Sim performing the voice of Scrooge. Then there was the 1984 movie with George C. Scott, the 1992 Muppet version, the 1997 animation, the 1999 Patrick Stewart one, the 2009 animated Jim Carrey one, and a Scottish version that is currently being made. So many ways to watch the story, but… have you read the actual story?
I checked out a copy of the book from my public library, and dug in. As I expected, the language was a bit different, since it was written over 150 years ago. There were some words that we just don’t use anymore, but the story was still very understandable.
What really struck me were the religious themes. Marley’s ghost seems to be stuck in Purgatory, and unable to get out of it because of his self-centeredness and lack of caring about others in his earthly life. The spirits showing Scrooge around made me think of the eternalness of God – He’s in the past, the present, the future. And finally, Scrooge is given a second chance to change his life, just the way God offers each of us a second chance.
It’s a great book to read this time of year. It’s short – a little over 100 pages. You can find it at your bookstore, local library, or even free online at websites like Pagebypage.com or the Gutenberg Project.