Mr. Dickens and His Carol

Mr. Dickens and His Carol

Book - 2017
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" A charming, comic, and ultimately poignant story about the creation of the most famous Christmas tale ever written. It's as foggy and haunted and redemptive as the original; it's all heart, and I read it in a couple of ebullient, Christmassy gulps." --Anthony Doerr, #1 New York Times bestselling author of All The Light We Cannot See

Laced with humor, rich historical detail from Charles Dickens' life, and clever winks to his work, Samantha Silva's Mr. Dickens and His Carol is an irresistible new take on a cherished classic.

Charles Dickens is not feeling the Christmas spirit. His newest book is an utter flop, the critics have turned against him, relatives near and far hound him for money. While his wife plans a lavish holiday party for their ever-expanding family and circle of friends, Dickens has visions of the poor house. But when his publishers try to blackmail him into writing a Christmas book to save them all from financial ruin, he refuses. And a serious bout of writer's block sets in.

Frazzled and filled with self-doubt, Dickens seeks solace in his great palace of thinking, the city of London itself. On one of his long night walks, in a once-beloved square, he meets the mysterious Eleanor Lovejoy, who might be just the muse he needs. As Dickens' deadlines close in, Eleanor propels him on a Scrooge-like journey that tests everything he believes about generosity, friendship, ambition, and love. The story he writes will change Christmas forever.

Publisher: New York : Flatiron Books, 2017.
Edition: First edition.
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9781250154040
Branch Call Number: FIC Silva
Characteristics: 276 pages
Alternative Title: Mister Dickens and his carol


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Feb 11, 2018

This is an ideal book to read aloud in front of the fireplace during the week leading to Christmas. It is an original explanation of how Dickens came to write his famous "A Christmas Carol" with just the right amount of supernatural and literary references. The story is humorous and shows us a several human sides of Dickens: the father ready to spoil his numerous children, the husband humbled by his wife's absence, the writer anxious because of a sudden writer's block, the father and son tired of the continuous requests for money of his relatives, the man moved to compassion by the plight of the poor. To tell more about the story would mean to spoil it and it really deserved to be read and enjoyed. The only thing that left me unsatisfied with the happy ending was that it seemed to legitimize a kind of behavior that I am not sure should be legitimized. Should children really be so spoiled and always get what they want? Dickens children in the story seem to care only about themselves and the toys they absolutely have to have. Also Dickens' father and brother get in the end the big check they wanted: why could not they at least attempt to provide for themselves, rather than sponging on the writer and assume that is alright? The emphasis is of course on Christmas and family, and the idea of helping others, but still the end seems a bit too cheesy (and unfair) to me.

Oct 16, 2017

This is truly a shining star in the midst of the holiday offerings for this season. Dickens has enjoyed rock star status in the literary world, but his star is waning as Martin Chuzzlewit bombs in the bookstores. His family wants a better Christmas than last year, he has a new son to love and care for, his wife is planning an expensive holiday party, his father wants money, his cousin Fred wants Dickens to back his latest harebrained scheme and the publishers are strongarming him for a new book by Christmas. Threatening even to begin to deduct from his pay, they hand him a pen and give him a deadline. Charles gets more and more like his Ebenezer Scrooge as the deadline grow closer. His family leaves town to give him time to himself and he still struggles. Until he meets his muse.

As we read this creative fictional version of the story behind one of the most beloved books of all time, we see bits and pieces of the classic tale coming to mind. The book itself; however, is a long time coming and not without much wringing of hands and walking about London. The beautiful ending is perfectly done and contains thread of "It's a Wonderful Life" as the masses are drawn together in the peace and love of the season. God bless us. Everyone. Amen.

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