A ghost story for December? Definitely!
The TALE: Tehachapi Art, Literature and Entertainment
December 7, 2019
A ghost story for a December book review? As said by my Scandinavian relatives, “Ya sure ya betcha!” As we sat around the table after Thanksgiving dinner, conversation came around to books. And we discussed, rather, we marveled at how much one small Christmas story has survived through decades of growth and change in our world, and still makes an impact today. The book is “A Christmas Carol.”
“A Christmas Carol” was written in London, 1843, by Charles Dickens, a man who took to heart the social and human suffering of the poor. For the big and enduring impact this story has made through the decades, the book itself is quite small in stature. Only 60 to 100 pages depending on the printing, it was written as a novella. It is a ghost story first, a psychological study second, a critical view of society between the haves and have nots third, and last and most important, it is a spiritual journey for both Mr. Scrooge and the reader.
As a refresher, there are three ghosts, past, present and future. What would you do if you were shown your future, only to find out how your past and present are having a terribly negative impact on your ending? And that you could have a chance to rewrite that ending? Though a profound story of the ages, with cruelty and heartache, plus samples of forgiveness, kindness and compassion, this also becomes a story that proves there are no time limits on childish delights and they can be resurrected from long traveled dark paths and choices.
A deeper layer of the message pertains to “ignorance and want” which Dickens manifested as children in his story, the most vulnerable in any society. Children who survive a harsh childhood can grow up to become embittered adults. We build a better future for our country and our world if we tenderly care for all children in our present. Children have always been our gift to the future.
When a good story is written it sometimes takes on a life of its own, generation after generation, in reprinting and new book covers and illustrations. In 1901 “A Christmas Carol” debuted as a silent film. Since then the remakes have starred actors like Albert Finney, George C. Scott, Jim Carrey and even Mickey Mouse and the ever beloved old scrooge with perfect type casting, Mr. Magoo. In more recent years, Hallmark has reworked the story where audiences can see Scrooge with both male and female viewpoints in modern settings. When a story has both a lasting message and a happy ending, what could go wrong?
Even the greatly loved (and sometimes hated) “It’s a Wonderful Life” with Jimmy Stewart portrays what has become the age old question, “Has my life been important and made a difference to anyone?” We can thank Scrooge for showing us that we can change and live in joy even after living a selfish and self-centered life.
To lighten the mood, we will now talk crayons! You will need time to read the first two books of the Crayon series written by Drew Daywalt and illustrated by Oliver Jeffrers (“The Day the Crayons Quit” and “The Day the Crayons Came Home”.) Read them with your family before getting the “The Crayons’ Christmas.” This newest book is full of fun. But it helps to know the characters and their personalities to enjoy all the activities including postcards, a poster, an ornament and a pop up tree. Enjoy the book with family, friends and all the children in your life. I also suggest investing in a big new box of crayons and a stack of paper, then go crazy coloring. And don’t forget when opening the new box to take a moment to enjoy the smell and memories that pour out ... past memories of the first day of school, new crayons in your Christmas stocking and laying on your tummy, drawing for hours on end. Be a happy Scrooge this season!
Merry to all!
*Midge Lyn’dee is a fictional character used for the purpose of entertainment though the reviews are real and sincere.