Mr. Dickens and his Carol by Samantha Silva ★★★☆☆

Reading for A Very Merry Readathon

This a fictional telling of how Charles Dickens came to write A Christmas Carol and his life leading up to it. I don’t know a lot about Samantha Silva, and I think there are a lot of ways this story could be told. I am intrigued by the subject matter. However, I have no way of knowing whether I will like her writing style, so we will have to see if meshes with me.

Finished 12/15/19

This a very charming book that used a very Christmas Carol type atmosphere. This story of Dickens, I assume, is fictional. For starters, it treats Dickens as a Scrooge like character. That works well for making this story contrast well with the story at hand. Although, I had hoped this was a more traditional, story of his life. Even still, it suffers from the “rich man problems” premise. Dickens is famous but spending too much money, so he gets a little Scroogy. Then he goes through a bit of a slump. He makes some mistakes as he struggles to write this story his publishers want.

Overall, it felt like I was reading Dickens. He wasn’t selfish like Scrooge. He was more judgmental than he was selfish. Imagine a hipster deride you for using plastic straws. In any case, this causes some problems in his family life that Silva uses as the events that helped inspire various parts of the story. Honestly, I don’t think I would have enjoyed the story as much if I wasn’t a Christmas Carol fan. Even then, I thought it was too long. The ending was also too much. Silva leans heavily into making this story Dicken’s own Christmas Carol, and that wasn’t what I wanted.

Sure, it is charming and I can appreciate the nod to Dickens. However, in the end it’s a lesser Christmas Carol rather than a true detail of Dickens’s life. If you are a fan, you will probably like this. Just don’t expect it to be a true recounting. I am fine with creative choices, but the fact is if you are basically just going to remake a Christmas Carol, then it needs to stand out in some way. As I see it, you’re better off reading (or rereading) a Christmas Carol than this. 3.25/5 stars.

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