I read this wonderful little book every couple of years in the run up to Christmas. Scrooge’s reclamation never fails to bring me a bit of cheer and hope that things aren’t really as bad as they seem. In 2016 I had the realization that A Christmas Carol is a classic hero journey (as described by Joseph Campbell). I’ve always been troubled by the passage of time in this story and decided to pay more attention to that this year and now understand the time problem when set in the hero’s journey framework.
The purpose of art is to encapsulate a slice of life in writing, painting, sculpture, or other medium and present it in a way that shows the human condition. Katherine Heiny has written a humorous and poignant novel that captures 17 years of Jane’s life between 2002 and 2019. We can see ourselves in Jane as she works through an ordinary life filled with the mundane, the tragic, and the sublime.
Heather Cox Richardson has the ability of great historians to say “see these events today?” and write a compelling narrative to explain how it started hundreds of years ago and continued to the current day. This book clearly spells out how the suppression and demonization of Blacks by 17th century southern land owners continued to be a successful way of the rich and powerful dominating the 21st century. Read the book, subscribe to her newsletter, or both.
When I was young I shied away from this story because I thought I knew it all from the movies and I thought Tiny Tim was sappy. But for the past couple of decades I have re-read this beautiful little book almost every Christmas and everytime I come away with a new insight; sometimes small, sometimes big.
It’s not too late to read it for Christmas this year. It’s a short book and can easily be read in an evening. When our kids were young we read it a once or twice in the lead up to Christmas; reading 1 chapter a night. The kids are all grown up now so I read it on my own.
The best book I’ve read all year.