Thursday, February 5, 2015

Jacob T. Marley

Jacob T. Marley
R. William Bennett
4 / 5

Published 2014

First Sentence
"To understand the time between Jacob's death and his wispy visit with Ebenezer in the bedroom with the old Dutch tiles showing the scenes of Bible stories, one must go back and see what path led him to this spot wherein he was permitted to frighten Scrooge for his own good."
Publisher's Description:
Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol is a holiday favorite and this new book, written in the style of Dickens, tells the story from the perspective of the character who was a ruthless taskmaster business partner who taught and influenced Scrooge and then saved him from the brink of a terrible fate.

Jacob T. Marley is to A Christmas Carol as the world-famous Wicked is toThe Wizard of Oz and is a masterfully crafted story teaching us, once again, the true meaning of Christmas.

Dear Reader,

I meant to write this review before Christmas, of course. But the holiday season caught up with me and I am still trying to find time for reading and posting here! My apologies that this is a bit delayed...I hope you will forgive me and allow this belated holiday post: I hope it will perhaps continue your celebrations just a little bit longer!

I was very wary of this book, going into it. I loved the concept behind it: how did Scrooge become the true miser he was? - but was worried that it might try too hard and then fail to meet those expectations. Lucky for us, Bennet did a great job of writing in Dickens' style with enough of a touch of his own that it became an enjoyable but very traditional read - I could see this easily joining the A Christmas Carol canon, becoming the volume which everyone places to the left of the classic on the shelf.

I was impressed by how well Bennett matched the style and feel of Dickens' classic: it feels as if he must have read and re-read that book a hundred times over! It is why I truly believe this book could be a serious companion piece to ACC, rather than a bit of fluff that someone felt like imagining up. And in many ways it was quite unlike Wiked as compared to The Wizard of Oz. While Wicked is a standalone piece which touts Maguire's own style and voice, Jacob T Marley is much more of an homage to the master, weaving Marley's view of things in with the story which Dickens originally told.

My favorite quote from this book? "If we do nothing but remove a rock upon which someone might have tripped, though they may never know we did it, is this not our cause, our reason for life?"

All I can do is recommend this to anyone who loves the classic and wants to see more of Scrooge's story. It's a wonderful explanation of how both men turned into who they were - and, who they would ultimately turn into, which is the heart of both of these original and timeless Christmas tales.


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