After watching the newest re-make of the movie (with Jim Carrey) I found myself wanting to read the story. I found it on www.literature.org, a free site for classic books (those no longer copywrited). I recommend the site as it has such a great selection of classics.
The story was amazingly short. I had envisioned the book being deeply detailed but it was quite reader friendly. I am not going to bore any one with the plot details since most everyone should know what the plot is. However, I was amazed at the imagary and simplicity of the story. There was so much story in so few words. To be honest, reading the book actually made little parts of each movie make sense.
I was surprised to discover that Scrooge's morning reaction to the Spirit's doing it all in one night did make sense. Originally, Scrooge was told that the Spirit's would be coming over the course of three nights. It may be mentioned in the movies but what isn't is the distortion of time. When Scrooge finally falls asleep it's after 2 am. When he awakes after the first Spirit he remarks that he thinks he slept well into the day since it's about 12. He's confused and unsure of the time. The second Spirit takes him on a journey that he remarks feels like weeks but he is sure that the Spirit has changed time so he has no idea how long he's been gone.
The other thing that I was sad to see not in the movies is that Scrooge really starts to feel bad right away. His life was so hard that it made him mean and greedy but when he's at his school looking over the young version of himself he thinks back to a young man he cursed at in the day and feels bad. He even mentions Bob Cratchet before he sees his Christmas. That sort of feeling didn't convey in the movies. Most of them kept Scrooge hardhearted until towards the end.
Such a great story and I see why Dickens is considered a great writer.