Review: Jacob T. Marley by R. William Bennett
Rated: 3 out of 5 stars
A Christmas Carol through a new set of eyes…
Just about everyone knows the story of A Christmas Carol and the tale of redemption that changes the miser Scrooge into a giving man. Yet how often do you wonder about the man behind the miser, Jacob T. Marley? Do you wish to know if this man helped turn Scrooge into a stone-hearted person? What mistakes did Marley make to carry the chains that he did?
Bennett weaves a tale about the history of Scrooge’s partner, and carries readers on a journey through the life of Marley; even beyond his death. The story is filled with the memorable characters from the original Dickens tale, with a few new twists and turns. To be completely honest, this reader didn’t know what to expect, and hoped for a story told wholly in the life before Marley’s death that would help justify the Scrooge readers are introduced to in A Christmas Carol.
Surprisingly, the book took an unexpected route and not only told of Marley’s past, but his present and future. Intimate details of Marley’s life are shared, and told in a classical way that inspires and reminds readers of the Dickens style. Bennett does a decent job of blending the original story with his alternate universe, in which, we see events unfold via a narrator and through Marley’s eyes.
The author also provided a wonderful sense of setting and period; with multiple details that were pleasing and acted as a transport into his world. Additionally, this reader was pleased at the end of the tale as there were no wondering questions, and the story was told to completion.
The majority of disappointment in this book came from what felt to be a sagging middle. The development of the beginning of the story, and the wonderful ending made the middle lack. This reader wanted to know more details behind some of Marley’s journey, and felt bereft at not being able to share in more of his trials. This reader felt an additional fifty pages or so would not have hurt the story, but added more enticement and depth. The book is about redemption and suffering, let the reader live it!
Overall, the story was satisfactory, and makes a nice read for those wanting to get into the Christmas spirit or if you’re looking for something different than traditional holiday stories.