Jacob Marley plays such a prominent role in Charles Dickens' classic A Christmas Carol that it's natural to wonder about him. What was his story? Why was Jacob doomed to wander, dragging his chains for eternity, while Ebeneezer Scrooge got a chance to make things right? What's up with that? In Jacob T. Marley, a new holiday book by R. William Bennett, the author imagines the answers to all these questions and more. Written in the style of the incomparable Charles Dickens, the book tells the familiar story, but from the perspective of Scrooge's business partner, Jacob Marley. The new angle adds depth to the classic novel, making Jacob T. Marley an entertaining and moving tale in its own right.
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
(Image from Barnes & Noble)
While the story starts out with Marley's childhood, it doesn't linger there. It focuses, instead, on his adult life, specifically his interactions with Ebeneezer Scrooge. When Jacob dies, he begs for a chance to redeem himself by saving the joyless Scrooge, for whose black-hearted soul he suddenly feels very, very responsible. Jacob's awarded the chance, although no one believes he can actually accomplish such a daunting task. As Jacob orchestrates the intervention of three ghosts in the life of his associate, he realizes (as does Scrooge) the great impact - for good or ill - that we all have on each other. The conclusion is the same as the one reached in A Christmas Carol: it's never too late to develop a charitable heart. It's never too late to reach out, to give, to make someone's life brighter. It's never too late to become the person you've always wanted to be.
No modern work can ever equal a classic like A Christmas Carol. Still, I found myself enjoying Jacob T. Marley much more than I thought I would. It's a hopeful, warm-hearted story that helped me feel the spirit of Christmas. I can't say I absolutely loved it, but I did like this unique take on Dickens' immortal yuletide tale.
(Readalikes: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens)
If this were a movie, it would be rated: PG for some scary images