52 Little Lessons from A Christmas Carol

52 Little Lessons from A Christmas Carol - Bob Welch This book really didn't have anything exceptional in it. I have read A Christmas Carol every year for the past... um, more than five years (I forget when I started this annual reading.) I was really hoping for something that could get into the core of Dickens's tale and help me to see lessons that I hadn't found myself before. This did not give me that. Every lesson the author found was something that I could have found myself. Most which I already was aware of. Don't get me wrong, it was good for me to see some of the lessons in the book rearticulated in a different way, but I didn't feel this book had enough depth to be worth the time it took me to read it. I was also disappointed by the fact that the author couldn't even find 52 lessons in Dickens's book, but had to rely on some of the movies (and missing one or two lessons he could have found in the book.) While bringing in some of the lessons from movies might not have been bad, I really wanted the focus on the book, and if, in the midst of explaining a lesson the author drew examples from the films I wouldn't have minded at all, but there are lessons dedicated only to parts of the movies that were not originally in the book.

What's worse, is that the author probably should have re-read (and re-watched) his material. There were at least two errors that I caught. The first mistake was in Lessons 16 Life Is Best Lived When You're Awake. 'I never noticed that. --Scrooge, in the 1984 movie version, after the Ghost of Christmas Past points out that Belle "resembled your sister."' There is, in fact, no part in that movie where the ghost tells Scrooge that Belle resembles his sister. I suppose one could argue that the actresses do indeed resemble each other, and in the story, the two women are filled with joy, love and Christmas spirit, but the ghost never compares the two. Instead, it tells Scrooge that Fred, his nephew, resembles Fan (Fred's mother.) The author easily could have corrected this without effecting his lesson. The second error that I caught was in Lesson 44 Don't Give Expecting to Receive. In the chapter, the author states that "Scrooge's calling a cab for the little boy because the turkey would be too heavy for the lad to carry may well have been the man's first expression of empathy." I was never, in any of my readings of the book, under the impression that the little boy carried the turkey to the Cratchit's house. The book says that Scrooge told the boy to "Go and buy it, and tell 'em to bring it here, that I may give them the direction where to take it." He told the boy he'd give him a shilling (or half-a-crown if he was quick) to bring the turkey to him, but it never said that he gave him the money to buy the turkey. It says that "the chuckle with which he paid for the Turkey, and the chuckle with which he paid for the cab, and the chuckle with which he recompensed the boy, were only to be exceeded by the chuckle with which he sat down breathless in his chair again, and chuckled till he cried." In other words, he paid for the turkey, and recompensed the boy separately. So he bought the turkey himself, and recompensed the boy for the time and effort it took him to go and fetch it, along with the man who carried it. None of the movies were ever under the impression that the boy was the one to carry the turkey to Bob Cratchit's either. Some show the man who delivered the turkey as having his own cart, and some show Scrooge paying for the cab as it says in the book, but none show the little boy carrying it. As with the other mistake, the lesson would not have been effected very much by the correction of the mistake.

I probably would have been more forgiving of these mistakes had I felt that I learned much from the book, but it was a very touchy-feely book that, while sweet, didn't really tell me anything I didn't already know, and thus, I was already frustrated by it by the time I found these mistakes.