“When we recall Christmas past, we usually find that the simplest things – not the great occasions – give off the greatest glow of happiness.” – Bob Hope
As you all take a break from your busy schedules and celebrate Christmas, we at Gathering Books are also taking a break from our bimonthly theme to join in the festivities and the spirit of this favorite holiday of the year. Joining us today is Britain’s poet laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, and her ‘novella’-in-verse entitled Mrs. Scrooge, A Christmas Poem.
I chanced upon this book in a 99c Store. It was the only copy on the shelf so of course I had to grab it. I’m a Charles Dickens fan, and I love the story of A Christmas Carol. While not a big fan of Ebenezer Scrooge, I find him delightful.
Told in the tradition of the classic Dickens tale, Carol Ann Duffy’s book gives readers a glimpse in the life of Mrs. Scrooge, widowed and spending Christmas alone. I’d like to give Carol Ann Duffy credit for giving this old-time favorite a modern twist.
Mrs. Scrooge sat googling at her desk,
Catchit the cat
curled at her feet; snowflakes tumbling to the ground
below the window, where a robin perched,
pecking at seeds. Most turkeys,
bred for their meat, are kept in windowless barns,
with some containing over 20,000 birds. Turkeys
are removed from their crates and hung from shackles
by their legs in moving lines. A small fire crackled
in the grate. Their heads are dragged under
a water bath–electrically charged–before their necks
are cut. Mrs. Scrooge pressed Print.
to visit Marley’s Supermarket (Biggest Bargain Birds!)
And just like her “doornail dead” husband, Ebenezer Scrooge, Mrs. Scrooge was considered as a sourpuss by a bunch of people. Especially during that coldest Christmas Eve in London.
Most shook their heads at Mrs. Scrooge,
irked by her cry “Find out how turkeys really die!”
or shoved her leaflet in the pockets of their coats, unread,
or laughed and called back “Spoilsport! Ho! Ho! Ho!”
The Spirit of Giving
Just like in the original Dickens story, Mrs. Scrooge was visited by the Ghosts of Christmas Past, of Christmas Present, and of Christmas Yet to Come. Each paints a picture of her life – past, present, and future – and shows her the true spirit of Christmas. In the latter part of the book, Duffy helps readers understand that the spirit of giving should be done every single day, as if each day is Christmas. It’s a nice thought, don’t you think? Just like Thanksgiving, we should always have a sharing and giving heart even if it’s not Christmas.
This book is intended for older children because of the language that was used. I thought this was an interesting take on A Christmas Carol but I don’t consider it one of my best reads. I got lost somewhere during the visits of the Christmas Ghosts, as if I was reading a completely different story altogether. The story wasn’t as tightly woven as I had expected it. Maybe I should read it again and see if I have a better understanding of the story or find out if the story would be more coherent. As a whole, though, it’s fun to read Mrs. Scrooge. It’s a treat to relive the magic of A Christmas Carol through Ebenezer’s widow.
So. It is almost 8 PM, December 24th, my time. I have to get ready for work in 2 hours. Yes, I am spending my Christmas taking care of people who are not even related to me. I suppose that’s how I show my spirit of giving. May you all have a wonderful, blessed, and happy Yuletide celebration.
Merry Christmas to everyone,
from all of us here at Gathering Books!
Novel in Verse Reading Challenge: 9 of 10