The Man Who Invented Christmas: How Charles Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’ Rescued His Career and Revived our Holiday Spirits

Charles Dickens’ beloved Christmas story, A Christmas Carol, has remained in print ever since it was published and has inspired many film and stage adaptations. What is it about A Christmas Carol that still remains so appealing to people? Les Standiford attempts to answer this question in his book, The Man Who Invented Christmas. Standiford also provides insight into Charles Dickens’ life and times and explains the influence Dickens’ classic Christmas tale had on readers. Everyone has heard of A Christmas Carol, but this book gives the backstory and explains what it took for Dickens to make the book a success.

These days many authors have a Christmas themed book, almost every television show features a Christmas episode and a variety of seasonal films are in theaters during the month of December. Today’s Christmas obsessed world is quite a contrast to the world in which Dickens was writing. In Dickens’ day, the idea of a Christmas themed book was so unusual it wasn’t deemed a worthwhile idea. Dickens’ publishers weren’t willing to publish A Christmas Carol despite Dickens’ previous successes. Confident in the book’s merit, Dickens self-published the book and hoped it would revive his struggling career and financial situation. Before reading this book I didn’t realize how much of Dickens’ writing was autobiographical. This book is a compelling tale of a man who transformed himself from a child factory laborer into a famous author.

I very much enjoyed reading this book. I found it had the perfect balance between being informational and entertaining. This book is non-fiction and gives a great deal of history but isn’t too scholarly so it is an easy read. While this book is not necessarily a Christmas book, I would definitely label it a great seasonal read. If you read The Man Who Invented Christmas and are inspired to read a Dickens book, check out A Christmas Carol, Great Expectations, A Tale of Two Cities, Bleak House, The Old Curiosity Shop, and David Copperfield. All these books are available at the library.  

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