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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Jacob, Is That You?: A Christmas Carol Special Edition, Review

Got your attention didn't I?  Admit it.  You thought that this was going to be about New Moon with the Jacob mention and all....tsk tsk.  Twilight-a-holics...(just kidding...you know I'm guilty of that myself..)  In the spirit of the holiday season, I felt it only appropriate that the very first book review of December goes to a Christmas-ey title!  (Of course the fact that I was reading it already fit perfectly with that thought...and the thought really did come first...no really, it did!)

Today's title is a new take on an old favorite.  Well, not really, it's actually the original take on the original classic, but with special features added in. (You'll see what I mean in a moment.....keep reading....)  For anyone looking to add to their list of holiday books to read, you'll definitely want to keep a spot open for this one.  Today's book of choice is....


The Charles Dickens Classic with Christian Insights
and Discussion Questions for Groups and Families
by
edited by
Stephen Skelton

(I'll just go ahead and say what you're thinking right now....whew!  That was a looooonnnnggggg title!)This is the original classic as written by the classic author of yesterday and today...master Charles Dickens.  His 1843 original novel (WOW!  That is not a typo by the way....that makes the book....166 years old!  I think even old Scrooge would be impressed!) is represented in its full text, allowing readers the rare chance to read it was it was intended.  For those that have read this story in the past (guilty!), you may be surprised to find out just what was changed, or removed completely in the version you currently hold dear!  What pray tell would be the incentive then for those of you that HAVE in fact read the original text?  Well, this book adds tidbits of information along the way.  From historical facts to biblical references, there is something for every taste and it does not detract in any way from the book!  BONUS for those with book clubs or study groups...between each Stave (or section, chapter, whatever you'd prefer to call it) there are discussion guides with questions to spark conversation.  Pretty cool, huh?


So....let me start out by saying that I generally don't read the books classified as Christian "insert genre here".  Now before you light the fire in the pit to roast me over (gulp), it's not that I have anything against them or those that do read them....I also don't have anything against the ideas religious and otherwise that they speak to....I mean for crying out loud, most of my schooling was in private schools with religious affliations!  I have found though (and this was found out in one of the schools I attended) that sometimes (not always), the story is filtered leaving you with a mere shell of what really occured.  It's not always the bad scenes and things that are taken out...sometimes its stuff that you wouldn't have even blinked twice at.  Case in point....in one of my schools (and it was only one in particular) that used this type of novel, had us read their version of the classic, The Scarlet Letter by Nathanial Hawthorne.  Now, I had read the original at least twice in my previous school years, so the changes were very apparent to me...it's so much the story that changed, I mean things still played out the way they were written, but the messages weren't as strong...no, that's not right, maybe broad or wide-reaching?  They were customized for what they wanted to relay to you despite the author's original intentions.  Sorry but that's not really fair to the author in my book....

Now that I'm done ranting as to why I don't usually read...well, you know....here is the good news...I really liked this version of the book!  Wanna know why? (in case you haven't guessed) The ORIGINAL text is there...you could actually read it straight through without any interruptions if you wanted to.  The add-in's of note are listed in the sidebars on each page and matched to the corresponding text with number notations.  Yes, some of them are Christian oriented and pointing to the fact that Dickens was a spiritual (no pun intended) man after all...however, there are just as many (if not more) factoids listed that were quite interesting.  Such as why he always made the schoolmasters such tyrannts....or what the heck "negus" really is?  (bet you can't guess!)  It's really quite a read, if I do say so myself (and this is my blog, so I guess I am!). 


On a side note, for those of you that have not yet had the chance to see the newest version of A Christmas Carol brought to "life" by silver screen mavens and Jim Carrey...I highly recommend it!  (Although, I do have to give a little warning to those with small children....there are some rather creepy almost scary scenes...) I actually saw the movie (in 3-D no less) prior to reading this book and I must say that of the many versions I've seen, it stayed pretty darn close to the original events....a miracle in this age of adaptations.

Special thanks to Julie as FSB Associates for the review copy!  (THANK YOU!) (Oh, and as you know the fact I received a copy does not not taint my reviews....just makes some of them possible since without reading it I can't really review it....)  This great group can be found online as well as on Twitter (but of course).

COMMENT CREATOR
In celebration of this particular story.....just a simple question will be asked.  Have you ever read the original text that you are aware of?  If so, what did you think?  If not....which version of this holiday classic on TV or the silver screen has been your favorite thus far?

Until next time....happy holidays....and happy reading!

10 comments:

Nymeth said...

I'm glad you enjoyed this! The annotated version sounds very different from what I normally read, but it could be interesting. I loved this book, but I'm ashamed to say that it's the only Dickens I've read. As for favourite adaptations, when I was a kid I'd watch Scrooged EVERY Christmas :D

Alexia561 said...

Great review! Never knew that the original story had been edited. Ashamed to admit that I've never read the book, but have seen countless versions of the movie on TV. Don't think that I have a favorite version, as I've never been a big Christmas Carol fan. Did like the Patrick Stewart reading, and the old black & white movie was pretty good.

GMR said...

Nymeth: NO reason for shame...some haven't even read THAT much Dickens...I am afraid it's not the only one I've read. (Thank you school requirements!) =0) I've seen Scrooged (once, I think)...it's definitely a more modern take on it, but passes the same messages (kind of).

Alexia561: Hi there! *~waves~* Don't worry, I didn't really know it either! The Patrict Stewart version was good...but then again is does play an interesting character no matter the role....blame it on his Captain Picard role....

....Petty Witter said...

Great review, full of enthusiasm. I'm hoping to see this latest film version of A Christmas Carol sometime next week - I've not heard one bad review of it.

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

This sounds great. Nice review. I can't wait to read this.

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

I love A Christmas Carol - in all formats! And uh yeah.... when you said Jacob...I read faster...LOL

GMR said...

Petty Witter: Thank you! I can see why too (no bad reviews on the movie I mean)! Can't wait to hear what you think of the movie!

Juju: Thanks Juju! Hoping I helped to add it to your TBR..hinthint

Sheila (Bookjourney): LOL. Gotcha! I figured I'd get a few people reading it that way ...I know, I know...it was sneaky, but hey, you enjoyed it right? =0)

Dorothy Dreyer said...

Interesting read, and great review! I'm planning on seeing the movie with my family soon.

Cleverly Inked said...

Tis the season to be a book a bookaholic. Great way to get in the spirit.


PS Taylor is wayyyy to young for me :) Is he even legal?

GMR said...

Dorothy Dreyer: That's great! Can't wait to hear your take on it!

Cleverly Inked: I figured that would capture some attention. LOL. Don't think so...but as long as you only look, you should be fine. I prefer the book version of Edward myself.

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