Author R. William Bennett
Marley was dead to begin with . . . These chillingly familiar words begin the classic Christmas tale of remorse and redemption in A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Now, R. William Bennett rewinds the story and focuses the spotlight on Scrooge's miserly business partner, Jacob T. Marley, who was allowed to return as a ghost to warn Scrooge away from his ill-fated path. Why was Marley allowed to return? And why hadn't he been given the same chance as Ebenezer Scrooge? Or had he? Written with a voice reminiscent of Dickens, Jacob T. Marley is to A Christmas Carol as the world-famous Wicked is to The Wizard of Oz as this masterfully crafted story teaches of choices, consequences, and of the power of accountability. It is sure to become a Christmas favorite.
Review: This is a re-telling of a holiday favorite from a different perspective. However, the point-of-view is not necessarily unique and shares much the same that readers already know about the story from the Scrooge. I was disappointed that nothing knew or a fresh twist was put on the tale and that I learned little that was different from what has already been written. The promise of insight is limited and fails to reveal much about Marley that isn't already cast out by the original Scrooge. Readers who enjoy re-reading the Christmas classics over and over each season may enjoy this version. It won't rattle any chains or upset the holiday cheer, but it does get a bit preachy mid-way. For me, this approach is about as palatable as fruitcake. I'm not convinced Dickens would let Marley off with such a weak epiphany nor would he delve into the righteousness of it all. All in all, I was let down with the lack of creative stretch and depth. It simply skated along on the back of an old tale.