Yes, I know it's the middle of February, but I just can't wait till December to tell you about the U. K.'s poet-laureate, Carol Ann Duffy's Christmas poem, Mrs. Scrooge. Duffy and her illustrator Beth Adams serve us a mashup of Dickens' classic story with a contemporary twist: Mrs.S., in modern dress, is a practicing environmentalist of the 21st century. But she's still a bit of a Scrooge - with a green stripe.
She hated waste, consumerism, Mrs. Scrooge, foraged in the London parks for chestnuts, mushrooms, blackberries, ate leftovers, recycled, mended, passed on, purchased secondhand, turned the heating down and put on layers, walked everywhere drank tap-water, used public libraries, possessed a wind-up radio, switched off lights, lit candles (darkness is cheap and Mrs. Scrooge liked it) and would not spend one penny on a plastic bag.
The story opens with Mr. S. (who was beloved) described as "doornail-dead" and Mrs. S. living all alone in a building scheduled for imminent demolition. She's begun to lose heart about her belief inthe possibility for great change. As night falls, she, as Ebenezer before her, visits the Christmases past, present and future and experiences a similar renewal of hope. Duffy's language is light and crisp, the narration reminiscent of Alan Bennett. Don't miss it, even if you decide to read it in summer. I had a great experience once reading A Christmas Carol in the middle of July! Oh, and by the way, in this story the word humbug refers to the lovely striped candy.