A Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol

'If I had my way, every idiot who goes around with Merry Christmas on his lips, would be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart. Merry Christmas? Bah humbug!'Charles Dickens' ghostly tale of sour and stingy miser Ebenezer Scrooge has captivated readers, listeners and audiences for over 150 years. This Christmas, Audible Studios brin...

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Title:A Christmas Carol
Author:Charles Dickens
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Edition Language:English

A Christmas Carol Reviews

  • Bill  Kerwin

    It has been a decade since I last read this classic, so I decided to look at it again, taking note of what I have forgotten or imperfectly remembered and also garnering any new insights my older (and I hope wiser) self could now find within it.

    But first, I decided to do a little research, and discovered the great irony underlying the book’s creation: how this tale that warns against miserliness was born because of Dickens' acute need for money, and how its publication resulted in a dispute about

    It has been a decade since I last read this classic, so I decided to look at it again, taking note of what I have forgotten or imperfectly remembered and also garnering any new insights my older (and I hope wiser) self could now find within it.

    But first, I decided to do a little research, and discovered the great irony underlying the book’s creation: how this tale that warns against miserliness was born because of Dickens' acute need for money, and how its publication resulted in a dispute about the distribution of profits.

    Dickens was already famous in 1843, but the sales of the recent installments of

    were less than half of what he had received for the individual numbers of his previous novels. His publishers Chapman and Hall were so alarmed that they invoked a clause in Dickens contract which demanded that they be reimbursed for the printing cost of the

    installments. Dickens was alarmed too, but also hurt, offended...and worried. A large mortgage payment would soon be due, and his wife had just given birth to their fifth child. Still, he was convinced that his idea for a yuletide novella would yield an ample return and make up for the

    deficit.

    He financed the sumptuous edition of

    himself—colored plates, colored title page, gilt embossed front cover, gilt-edged pages, etc.—and insisted that the price not exceed the sum of 5 shillings (still expensive: one third of Cratchit’s weekly salary). Dickens waited eagerly for the money to roll in, but, although the sales were indeed phenomenal, Dickens gained little money from them. Although the cost of producing the elegant volume must have cut deeply into the profits, Dickens was convinced Chapman and Hall were cheating him and he refused to do business with them for the next fifteen years.

    But enough of money matters, for now! What follows are a few random observations on this, the latest of my many readings.

    1) How thoroughly Marley’s Ghost is surrounded by iron objects: doorknocker (large Victorian doorknockers were typically iron), iron door nails, iron coffin nails, iron chain and iron metal strong box. Helps us see what hard, unrelenting old sinners Marley and his partner really are.

    2) In addition to being hard of heart, Scrooge is a man with a deliberate philosophy of self-exoneration. It consists of two principles: 1) taxpayers fund the poor houses and prisons, thereby discharging in full their obligation to all of their fellow human beings, and 2) death by starvation, although it may seem regrettable, is actually a positive good as proven by science (because Malthus!), and relieves the rest of us of the burden of a surplus population. This philosophy is the shield that protects Scrooge from feeling the pains of sympathy and compassion.

    3) The first emotion produced in Scrooge by the Ghost of Christmas Past is sadness at this own boyhood loneliness, but the second emotion is his joy in the books that consoled him and helped him empathize with others:

    , the old romances (

    ), and realistic fiction (

    ). In Ebenezer’s coming transformation, the sadness and its memory are of course necessary, but no more necessary than this joy.

    4) At Fezziwig’s Christmas party, the guest list is inclusive: the family and the clerks of course, but also the housemaid, the baker, the cook, the milkman, and a boy and a girl from down the street whom the Fezziwigs fear are mistreated by their masters and mistresses. Scrooge’s defense of his employer Fezziwig's little party which may only have cost “a few pounds” is even more eloquent than I remembered:

    If I were dictator, I would compel our 21st century employers to listen to the above words at least four times a year. (Exception: employers who, in order to increase the volume of key strokes, forbid all family photographs and personal items in their data entry cubicles. No,

    guys should have to listen to the above passage on a loop, eight hours a day, for the rest of their lives.)

    5) In my favorite movie version, the Alastair Sim

    (1951), Ebenezer sees his former fiance as an old woman (still beautiful of course) nursing the sick and dying in the shadowy corners of the poorhouse. It is moving, certainly, but how much more effective—and crueler—is the Dicken’s original! There, Scrooge sees her happy in the recent past, a contented wife and mother surrounded by a whirlwind of children.

    6) In the past I have viewed the temporal structure of the tale (ghost past, ghost present, ghost future) as an effective but obvious device. But the more I think about it, the more profound it seems, psychologically and spiritually. This, after all, is the pattern of every true conversion, the manner in which we grow in sympathy toward our fellow human beings: we reflect upon the emotionally charged sense impressions of the past, observe their consequences for good or ill manifested in the present, and then—on the basis of these observations—we make a decision to act in a new way, a way which draws us grow closer to love. Certainly St. Augustine would have understood, for it was how he envisioned the Trinity, as a model of love in action:

    .

    Oh, speaking of how painful memories can inspire a person to action, I forgot to tell you the rest of the story about

    and money. Another factor that reduced Dickens' yuletide revenue stream was a cut-rate bit of plagiarism issued two weeks after

    by Parley’s Illustrated Library called

    . Parley's claimed they owed Dickens nothing because what they had published was not a piracy, but an "analytical condensation" of the tale, and, in addition, they had

    . (For example, in their version, Tiny Tim sings a song about a little child freezing in the snow.) Dickens sued and won, but Parley’s went bankrupt, and instead of gaining any money from his legal ordeal, Dickens was forced to pay 700 pounds in court costs.

    Now, here comes the good news: This painful experience so disillusioned Dickens with English civil law that he used it as his inspiration

    for what is arguably his finest, most mature creation, the masterpiece

    . So I guess Dickens gained something from the experience after all.

    On that high note, I will leave you. And God bless us, everyone!

  • Mary

    It's a family tradition to read A Christmas Carol (original, unabridged) aloud each Christmas season and then to watch at least one film version on Christmas Eve (this year it was the Muppets' Christmas Carol - very authentic - with Michael Caine).

    Over the years, we have discussed the 19th century slang and customs enough so that the reading is becoming smoother and smoother without much need for editorial asides. This year we focused on favorite phrases "Marley was dead, to begin with." "the m

    It's a family tradition to read A Christmas Carol (original, unabridged) aloud each Christmas season and then to watch at least one film version on Christmas Eve (this year it was the Muppets' Christmas Carol - very authentic - with Michael Caine).

    Over the years, we have discussed the 19th century slang and customs enough so that the reading is becoming smoother and smoother without much need for editorial asides. This year we focused on favorite phrases "Marley was dead, to begin with." "the misanthropic ice", "solitary as an oyster", "Come in and know me better, man!" and we talked about Charles Dickens as the rock star of the mid-1800's. It is such a wonderful, timeless story and by re-reading it every year we become better and better acquainted with the characters. We continue to marvel at Dickens' powers of description and treasure the multitude of secondary characters like Topper, the plump sister, Mr. and Mrs. Fezziwig, the little Cratchits and more. I can't wait to read it again!

  • Alejandro

    I can't tell how many times I have watched some adaptation or another of this classic story...

    ...Bugs Bunny, Mickey Mouse, Kermit the Frog, the Real Ghostbusters, live action films, animated TV specials, etc...

    ...since this is one of the most adapted stories of all time.

    A truly Christmas classic.

    And this one of the few books that I think one hardly can deny that it's the novel that defines a genre, in this case:

    I can't tell how many times I have watched some adaptation or another of this classic story...

    ...Bugs Bunny, Mickey Mouse, Kermit the Frog, the Real Ghostbusters, live action films, animated TV specials, etc...

    ...since this is one of the most adapted stories of all time.

    A truly Christmas classic.

    And this one of the few books that I think one hardly can deny that it's the novel that defines a genre, in this case:

    .

    In popular genres like Science-Fiction and Horror, there are several books competing for the title of the lead book in the genre.

    While in other genres like mafia, we have

    ; and in epic fantasy we have

    , that there is a more common acceptance that those books are the lead ones on each genre.

    And certainly, in books about Christmas, the impact and relevance of

    , not only put the season back in the conscience of people but define the very spirit and message of the holidays.

    Ebenezer Scrooge got into the fields of the most popular book characters ever.

    And indeed, a key factor for a book character to become effective with the readers is change, since any character that ends quite in the same state that he/she started on the beginning of the story, hardly can be named as a good book character. And Scrooge changes

    in this story, so he didn't only became a popular character but the embodiment of a type of human personality.

    I was so familiar with the story that I could "tell" it to anyone by memory, however I never actually read the original book.

    I knew the story only from the several adaptations in media.

    So, I thought that it was a very good moment to read the classic novel.

    I loved it.

    First, I didn't know that the chapters weren't named like that but instead, Dickens opted to named them "staves" since it was a "carol" (xmas song) what he was writing.

    Moreover, the division of the story is just perfect since Dickens used the right number of "staves" to tell the story, denoting the perfect structure of the storytelling.

    Great details that you only get on the reading experience of the story.

    Also, not only I re-experienced yet again the immortal story but I met some details that I didn't recall to be mentioned in the adaptations that I have watched.

    So, even if you have watched so different versions of the classic tale as me, if you have the chance of actually reading the book, please, give it a chance, you won't regret it!

  • Kalliope

    With lots of:

    Merriment

    Christmas Love

    Generous and very Christmasy Gifts

    Copious and Delicious Food

    Not too much drinking

    Christmas Games

    Another watch of

    And of course...Fascinating and Beautiful Books

    And to remember what Scrooge learnt:

  • Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

    I can't believe I have just NOW read this book. I have been watching the MANY movies of A Christmas Carol since I was a little kid. My favorite being the one with Albert Finney, that seemed to be the one I watched the most. I have it on dvd (maybe blu ray, I would have to look) and I have the VHS tape for a long time. Remember those? I also have The Muppet Christmas Carol and The Christmas Carol with Jim Carey. You know I think after reading this book I'm going to have to

    I can't believe I have just NOW read this book. I have been watching the MANY movies of A Christmas Carol since I was a little kid. My favorite being the one with Albert Finney, that seemed to be the one I watched the most. I have it on dvd (maybe blu ray, I would have to look) and I have the VHS tape for a long time. Remember those? I also have The Muppet Christmas Carol and The Christmas Carol with Jim Carey. You know I think after reading this book I'm going to have to dig out the movies and watch them this weekend.

    **Spoilers for any that haven't seen the movie or read the book, if that exists**

    Most everyone knows that Scrooge is visited by his old friend Marley and he was a ghost!

    He told Scrooge some things about life and told Scrooge he would be visited by three ghosts that might help him change his ways so he wouldn't end up like Marley.

    Of course Scrooge wanted none of that, he was scared out of his wits. But going with the ghosts was not so bad. Yes, there were some tears but there was some happiness as well. After the last ghost, Scrooge woke up a changed man. He was happy to be alive, he wasn't evil or mean - it is just such a wonderful story.

    Scrooge got a new lease on life. But he wasn't the only one, he gave to those in need and was the most delightful person. He took up a relationship with his nephew and lived the life he should have been living. And he became a wonderful friend to his employee's family, Bob Cratchit, Tiny Tim and the whole lot. It's bittersweet.

    Things even changed for Tiny Tim who needed an operation and guess who helped him live =)

    MY BLOG:

  • Candi

    When I think of Christmas and all those things that make Christmas so special,

    immediately comes to mind right along with family, friends, beautiful Christmas trees, Mom’s anise cut-out cookies, brilliant holiday light displays, gently falling snow, festive instrumental and choral concerts, midnight mass, and angel trees.

    truly is a timeless classic and a beloved tradition, whether you see the movie or read the book. The blessing of this treasure is that you d

    When I think of Christmas and all those things that make Christmas so special,

    immediately comes to mind right along with family, friends, beautiful Christmas trees, Mom’s anise cut-out cookies, brilliant holiday light displays, gently falling snow, festive instrumental and choral concerts, midnight mass, and angel trees.

    truly is a timeless classic and a beloved tradition, whether you see the movie or read the book. The blessing of this treasure is that you don’t have to celebrate Christmas to enjoy and appreciate this novella. The message is there for anyone that celebrates life and family and giving to others, those who want to examine their life and make the most of it and share it with others. Furthermore, it’s a winner all the way around – aside from the powerful message, we are also rewarded with a wonderfully written and atmospheric story. So, if you have a morsel of time you can spare in the next couple of days, treat yourself to a well-deserved break and grab a copy of this book. As you journey into those Christmases of Past, Present, and Future with Ebenezer Scrooge, your heart will feel lighter and your spirit revived as you hopefully gear up for not simply the chaos of the holidays but also the gifts of love, fellowship and gratitude.

    I wish for joy and peace for each and every one of you this holiday season and the coming year.

  • Leo .

    What a fantastic story! How terrible it was to be poor in the Victorian Era. Dickens was a humanitarian and saw first hand the poverty in the streets of London. The starving urchins trying to steal an apple or a handkerchief. The void between the rich and the poor. This story, like Oliver Twist in my opinion is a masterpiece.

    The musicals are just, brilliant. 👍🐯

    Christmas is coming, we know its near

    Evenings are darker, the cold weather is here

    Will there be snow? The sky is white

    Or have they been

    What a fantastic story! How terrible it was to be poor in the Victorian Era. Dickens was a humanitarian and saw first hand the poverty in the streets of London. The starving urchins trying to steal an apple or a handkerchief. The void between the rich and the poor. This story, like Oliver Twist in my opinion is a masterpiece.

    The musicals are just, brilliant. 👍🐯

    Christmas is coming, we know its near

    Evenings are darker, the cold weather is here

    Will there be snow? The sky is white

    Or have they been Chem- Trailing? All through the night?

    Corporations love it! Consume, buy, consume, buy

    Temptation, pretty colours, prices way too high

    We know we can't afford it, so credit cards we use

    When ones child is surrounded by all these things, how could one refuse?

    More and more credit, people just don't see

    It's all a lure, to take your hard earned money!

    The bank is in the red, cards no credit left

    Spending money we have not got, it is all akin to theft

    When the party is over, it is a New Year

    Reality hits home, and many are filled with fear

    All the booze has gone, the cakes and turkey too

    Everything purchased, has been used or consumed

    Not a pot to piss in, just a huge vacuum

    Hung over, depressed, lots of work to do, back to the mundane

    Was it ever worth it? We all must be insane

    Not the CEO's though, happy they are

    Their bank accounts are bursting, and probably have a new expensive car

    The rest of us sadly, continue as before

    A working persons life, is really a chore

    Up early, commute, and work all bloody day

    Obey a boss, yes sir no sir, everything is OK

    Repeat it day in day out, for a pittance of pay

    Repetition, repetition, its like Ground Hog Day

    We pay our taxes, National Insurance too, Why?

    Yet when we need benefits, or an operation, no matter how we try

    We never tick their boxes, computer says no!

    One is talking to a human but, they never show

    Any compassion, empathy or emotion, no semblance of care

    They are only doing their job, and the box has no tick in there

    One does not tick the box, one has no chance

    No matter whatsoever, one's circumstance

    Computer says no, the Beast see's no profit, even though one's contributions were paid in

    That's the Corporations, corpses, bleeding us dry, we are drowning

    NHS has no money, it is failing fast, what a damn cheek!

    No money in the NHS yet, footballers earn £250,000 a week!

    A crazy world we live in, it's all inverted and upside down

    Could have had a crazy woman as US president but, ended up with a Clown

    All these Elites are crazy, and not there for us

    When the shit hits the fan, we will be under the bus

    These people are all part of a secret clique

    And we are not invited, as we are weak

    We work through the Week Days

    Like in a field, a sheep, that never strays

    And come the Weekend, we are weakened, and need a rest

    Sunday is the sabbath, relax, cos' Mon one is needed to be at their best

    For one has to pay their taxes, their debts too

    It's a never ending cycle, insane, loopy loo

    Perpetual debt, slavery, stocks and bonds, assets frozen and Banksters

    Liquidation, cash flow, currency, CEO's are Wankers

    Most of one's earnings taken, and sucked in by the Beast

    We will eat budget foods while CEO's feast

    Money is our bondage, this paper we crave, we are simply debt Slaves

    Maritime Law, Piracy Of The High Seas, and Britannia Rules The Waves🐯👍

    By Leo.

    Remember this one growing up? Nostalgia...

    Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat

    Please put a penny in the old mans hat

    If you have not a penny, a halfpenny will do

    If have you not a halfpenny, then God bless you

    A pleasant nursery rhyme🐯👍

    Or

    Christmas is coming, the rich are getting fat

    Devoured everything, and that is that

    Taken all the money, everything else too

    And absolutely nothing left, for me and you🐯👍

    :-0

    Let's enjoy our festivities and forget about the rich and their ilk

    Let them wear their designer clothes and enjoy their sheets of silk

    Let indulge on the meat, puddings, port, whiskey and wine

    Choke on the gristle, whilst they dine

    Let them smoke their cigars, eat all the candy and nuts

    Fill their veins with cholesterol and burst their guts

    Fatten their bellies, and pickle their liver

    Just that thought, gets me all of a quiver

    So here is a greeting, with joy and cheer

    As we welcome in, another New Year🐯👍

    Merry Christmas to everybody on Goodreads, happy holidays. 👍🐯

    Happy New Year!🐯👍🐯👍

    So Christmas is over, for another year

    It has been a good 2017 on Goodreads, all cheer!

    Many new authors, and books galore

    For all tastes and ages, all what readers adore

    Let's start 2018 with a new story, leave 2017 behind

    Let's not forget the books we read though, we have expanded the mind. 🐯👍

    Are the authorities any better now? Back then people knew their place. Now not so much. I have had experiences with these, authorities. Here is a little rant:

    How does one deal with a neighbour from hell?

    Email the council, wait for them to give one a bell

    And wait, and wait, and wait some more

    But the call does not come, so try once more

    Has to be email, for recorded message, and number to press

    The option one requires is not available, what a complete mess

    This system, automated, no reason or rhyme

    Just go around in circles, all the bloody time

    Nothing ever gets done, this system, this beast

    No empathy, no concern, not in the least

    All one gets is nonsense eventually, when they call

    We are all just a number, this system is so cruel

    A case spanning ten years, and still no hope

    The authorities do nothing, and I just cannot cope

    The neighbour's behavior escalates, yet nobody will intervene

    Since the day he moved in, it is all it has ever been

    Hoarding rubbish, rats, mice, and flies

    Calling the Police on us, and telling them lies

    His deviant behavior, his antics, disgusting to see

    Leaning up against my front door, and having a pee

    All over the cat flap, sodden and wet

    Contaminating, Archimedes, my beautiful pet!

    My neighbour is vindictive, cunning, never sleeps

    Stands naked in his window, and gives my girl the creeps

    This man, this creep, who has ruined our lives, such pain

    I have had numerous breakdowns, he is making me insane

    Yet still, nothing, nothing is done, we are stunned

    He goes about his life, yet we are shunned

    What is this system? We mean nothing, only he

    And we have ploughed everything we have, into our property

    Bought it from the council fifteen years ago

    Since that time, neighbours, to and fro

    We have had drunkards, criminals, drug addicts, and now this

    We feel the council took our money, now they are taking the piss!

    Another neighbour complained, saw him warts and all

    As she was walking with her child, towards the school

    One hundred yards from our front door

    And he plays up downstairs, Porn, Hardcore!

    We hear it frequently, and the authorities were told

    Dating back years, yet we are left out in the cold

    Finally this man has been arrested, the neighbour called the law, such luck

    Yet we have been telling them this for years, OMG! WTF!

    So they took him away, and it put us at ease, he has gone the creep

    Maybe tonight, we will finally get some good earned sleep

    However, to our dismay, the Police brought him back, he is downstairs now

    I have this horrible feeling, something is not right somehow

    This man clearly needs supervision, yet here he is

    My brain is all scatty, I am all in a tiz

    I don't quite get, what the hell is going on

    How we have to put up with this phenomenon

    He called the Police on us for apparently bullying him, for our concerns for his welfare

    And at midnight that same day, we had quite a scare

    Two police officers banging on our door, in the late night

    No concern for our welfare, gave us quite a fright

    Enter our property, cos' he feels victimized, OMG!

    We have had this for a decade, yet get woken by PC Plod

    So this is one of many issues causing my soul to break

    My girl has enough to deal with, for goodness sake

    Having to deal with this, being flashed as she leaves for work in the morning, it is wrong

    Stepping over rubbish bags, and him leering, his stench, his pong

    He does not wash, or clean, or tidy, or care

    About his appearance, or when people stare

    He seems to like it, an audience, the Police know

    Yet they still have not spoken to us, no show

    I really am at the end of my tether, this is too much to take

    I am sitting here in my lounge, on edge, wide awake

    This is when my brain cells are on fire, I suppose

    When I am empty, and forlorn, I pen my prose

    The words they flow, like a river racing

    Like a cheetah, on the hunt, pacing

    My head feels like it is going to blow

    So I suppress it, this feeling of sorrow

    It is a crazy world, in which we live

    Nobody ever, ever, seems to give

    An ounce of compassion, no feeling, no heart

    A system that is totally falling apart

    It is time we woke up and realised thus

    That the authorities are simply, not there for us

    Nobody cares, about you, or about me

    Only what the celebrities, are doing on TV

    Which team won the weekend? Who scored? Which player? OMG!

    I am still smarting about PC Plod!

    All is quiet at present, hope it stays that way, still

    My girl gets up at six, and walking by his front door makes her feel ill

    My girl will sleep alone tonight, my insomnia is back, I am wired, it will seem

    So I will sit here, silent, hoping for a snooze, and welcome a dream👍🐯

    By Leo

    I wonder what Dickens would make of the Rich Quarter in London today. The mind boggles.

  • Bookdragon Sean

    I read this every year at Christmas, and I always will do. Simply because of the atmosphere it evokes. This story is Christmas as far as I’m concerned. It wouldn’t be the same without it. It is perfectly festive and is also appropriately didactic. It is an allegory for what happens to those that are unnecessarily bitter and twisted, refusing to take part in a joyful occasion. It is a glimpse at what could happen to someone who rejects their family upon trivial grounds, and let’s themselves be se

    I read this every year at Christmas, and I always will do. Simply because of the atmosphere it evokes. This story is Christmas as far as I’m concerned. It wouldn’t be the same without it. It is perfectly festive and is also appropriately didactic. It is an allegory for what happens to those that are unnecessarily bitter and twisted, refusing to take part in a joyful occasion. It is a glimpse at what could happen to someone who rejects their family upon trivial grounds, and let’s themselves be set apart. It is also a suggestion that one shouldn’t be so concerned with money. Money isn’t everything; it certainly didn’t buy ol’ Scrooge happiness. But, Christmas did and will do so again.

  • Lola

    I shall start by introducing you to Ebenezer Scrooge. According to the narrator, the cold-hearted, unholy and inconsiderate man we have as main character.

    While he is described as such:

    I shall start by introducing you to Ebenezer Scrooge. According to the narrator, the cold-hearted, unholy and inconsiderate man we have as main character.

    While he is described as such:

    Part of me was surprisingly not negatively thinking about the old man. Some despised him, but I couldn’t do such a thing, because he may have said hurtful things to people, but it’s not like he ruined someone’s life.

    He has some good in him, and I could see it from the start somehow. Now I am not sure if this is all coming from my having viewed the movie prior to reading this, if that's the reason why I became attached to him and empathized with him, because of everything he went through but, one thing I know is that I never ‘hated’ Scrooge.

    Don't worry if you're not too fond of him at first. He does, as you surely know already, have a fantastic and noticeable character development!

    See, I was sure there was good in him…*wink* *wink*

    This may sound quite strange to you, maybe, but I didn’t find an even, adequate and well-fitting atmosphere in this book. Sure, most scenes were sad or merry or eerie but it’s like, in my point of view, the author neglected it and concentrated more on the writing and characterization – for those elements to be outstanding (and they were!) – than the story itself.

    Tiny Tim – especially him – Scrooge and Fred are people that will be carefully buried inside my mind and will rest there for as long as I will cherish them, which is forever.

    Also, since this is a short novel, though containing a simple, well-plotted and easy to follow story, we don’t see the secondary characters as often as we may wish. For instance, Tiny Tim is my favorite of them all (I wasn’t able to resist him), but I could only read of him here and there, tiny bits of information, which is a little disappointing but, ultimately, understandable.

    Oh, even though this surely isn’t the best Christmas book I have read so far, it is a classic and, truthfully, how many of them make us see the importance of being kind to others, open-minded and thoughtful? How many warm our hearts? How many make us imagine our future transform into a better one? If you enjoyed this classic and the themes included, you may also find yourself appreciating the endearing story that is

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