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Friday, January 4, 2013

Audiobook Review: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

TITLE: A Christmas Carol
SERIES: Christmas Books, Book #1
AUTHOR: Charles Dickens 
NARRATORTim Curry
PUBLISHER: Audible, Inc.
PUBLICATION DATE: December 11, 2012 (first published 1843)
FORMAT: Unabridged audiobook, 3 hrs and 33 mins
GENRE: Classics, Holiday/Christmas
This version of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol, masterfully narrated by Tim Curry, was available for a limited time last year, and now it's back. This one-of-a-kind performance puts a unique spin on a treasured classic, and served as the inspiration for the exciting new line of Audible Signature Classics, including Adventures of Huckleberry Finn with Elijah Wood, and Heart of Darkness with Kenneth Branagh. Tim Curry performs this timeless holiday story in a deliciously dark tone, returning it to its Dickensian roots with a vivid imagining of Victorian London and just the right touch of outrageous fun.

A Christmas Carol has constantly been in print since its original publication in 1849, and has been adapted for stage, television, film, and opera. It has often been credited with returning the jovial and festive atmosphere to the holiday season in Britain and North America, following the somber period that emerged during the Industrial Revolution.

The story opens on a bleak and cold Christmas Eve as Ebenezer Scrooge is closing up his office for the day. As the story progresses and Christmas morning approaches, Scrooge encounters the unforgettable characters that make this story a classic: Bob Cratchit, Tiny Tim, and, of course, the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come.

MY REVIEW: 

I had planned to listen to this audiobook during the holidays, which I had borrowed from the library. When I received a free gift from Audible to download this latest version narrated by Tim Curry, I chose to listen to this edition instead.

Ebenezer Scrooge is a miserable old skinflint who runs Scrooge & Marley, a counting-house firm in London, England. His business partner, Jacob Marley, passed away seven years before, and Scrooge runs the firm with an iron-first. His employee, Bob Cratchit, is given a hard time when he asks to have Christmas Day off to spend in celebration with his family. Cratchit maintains that it is only once a year, and Scrooge's retort is that it is "a poor excuse for picking a man’s pocket every twenty-fifth of December!" Although Scrooge reluctantly agrees, he demands that Bob come in the following day extra early to make up for it!

When Scrooge returns home on Christmas Eve, he is startled to see that the brass knocker on his door has turned into a likeness of Jacob Marley. Later that evening, he is visited by Marley's ghost. At first, he refused to believe that Marley was real. Marley's ghost is covered in chains attached to cash-boxes, padlocks, and ledgers. Marley warns Scrooge that he is destined to the same fate if he does not change his ways, telling him: "I wear the chain I forged in life...I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and my own free will I wore it." Marley foretells of the three ghosts that will visit Scrooge.

I read A Christmas Carol way back in high school, so this is a re-read for me. This classic still hasn't lost its charm. It is a heart-warming story of second chances and redemption, which makes it a perfect holiday read! One of my favourite parts of the story is during Stave Three, when Scrooge sees Tiny Tim's crutch and asks the Ghost of Christmas Present whether the boy will die. It is already apparent that the events of the evening have begun to thaw Scrooge's hardened heart.

When I saw that Tim Curry narrated this version, I was immediately intrigued because Curry has such a big personality with a booming voice to match. He didn't let me down! Tim Curry's narration was fantastic! He does an amazing job of bringing Scrooge's personality across in his narration, and I highly recommend this rendition!

Thoughts on the movie: I watched the 2009 animated version of Disney's A Christmas Carol with my children, and we absolutely loved it! Some parts were a little bit scary, so I would throw that caution out there if you have really young children. Jim Carrey does an amazing job as the voice of Scrooge, as well as the three ghosts. Gary Oldman is also memorable as Bob Cratchit and Jacob Marley.

MY RATING:

5 stars! I loved it, and I will likely re-read it again in the future! You should definitely read it!  A big thanks to Audible for the free copy! 

This book qualifies as: 
#1 for my 2013 Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge
#1 for my 2013 Read-a-Latte Challenge
Bonus #1 for my 2013 Where Are You Reading? Challenge
#1 for my 2013 Global Reading Challenge
#1 for my 2013 Quick Fix Challenge
#1 for my 2013 1st In A Series Challenge
#1 for my 2013 Books-in-a-Series Reading Challenge
#1 for my Mount TBR Reading Challenge 2013
#1 for my 2013 TBR Pile Reading Challenge
#1 for my Embarrassment of Riches Reading Challenge 2013
#1 for my 2013 Audio Book Challenge
#1 for my 2013 Audio Book Challenge
#1 for my 2013 Let Me Count The Ways Reading Challenge: Audio Version
#1 for my 2013 Free Reads Challenge
#1 for my 2013 Literary Exploration Reading Challenge
#1 for my 2013 Genre Variety Reading Challenge
#1 for my 2013 Reading Outside The Box Book Challenge
#1 for my 2013 Paranormal Reading Challenge
#1 for my 2013 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
#1 for my The Classics Reading Challenge 2013
#1 for my Back to the Classics Challenge 2013
Task #10 of the Book 2 Movie 2012 Challenge
#1 for my 2013 Books To Movie Challenge
#1 for my 2013 European Reading Challenge
#1 for my Monthly Mix-up Mania: 2013 to 2015 Edition
Letter C for my 2013 A to Z Reading Challenge
#2 for my 2012 Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge    
#7 for my Semi-Charmed Winter 2012 Book Challenge
#6 for my The Classics Club Five-Year Reading Challenge   
#3 on my 1001 Books To Read Before You Die Reading Challenge
#13 for my 101 Fantasy Reading Challenge (Item #209)
#3 for my The LOST Books Perpetual Challenge 
#9 for my 1001 Children's Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up 

View all my reviews

14 comments:

  1. I love a good audio and this one sounds excellent. I don't know if I have ever heard this narrator- but from your review he sounds great.
    ~Jess

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    1. Hi, Jess. Do you remember Dr. Frank-N-Further from The Rocky Horror Picture Show? That's Tim Curry! He did a great job with this narration!

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  2. Great idea for an audio! Great review.

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  3. I'm glad you enjoyed Curry's narration. It was fantastic, wasn't it? :)

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  4. Congrats for linking up the first review in this years book to movie challenge! I'm glad you got to enjoy watching this one with your kids :)

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  5. Great review! To be honest, I have never read this Dicken's tale. I will have to now...and see if I can't get it as an audio book - what a great way to do it! Thanks again for partaking in our little Challenge!

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    1. Thanks, Kate! I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did!

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  6. I have seen different versions of the movies several times but never read the book. Tim Curry as narrator sounds fantastic and I will have to check out the audiobook! I am currently listening to Sissy Spacek narrate To Kill a Mockingbird and she's wonderful. I didn't know that actors narrated books and am interested to see what others are out there. I am participating in the Back to the Classics Challenge as well and found you there (today anyway). I was perusing your site yesterday as well.

    I look forward to seeing what else you've read for this challenge.

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    1. Hi, Tanya! I am going to have to check out that version of To Kill a Mockingbird. I read that back in high school, but I want to re-read it.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  7. What a great idea to listen to this story! I've read it so many times and I never seem to have as much reading time during Dec as I would like, that listening to it as part of my Xmas prep would be ideal.

    It is a perennial favorite and one I would like to reread myself next winter.

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    1. I highly recommend this version of the audiobook, Jane! I agree - there's never enough time for all the Christmas books that I want to read during the holidays :)

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