Jacob T. Marley
by R. William Bennett
Published by Shadow Mountain, October 2011
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.
Who would’ve thought there was so much to tell about such a small character in Dickens’ A Christmas Carol? I certainly expected this to be a retelling of the well-known story, but I was pleasantly surprised. Full of charm and beautiful writing, Bennett pulls together a story that fits so perfectly into the original tale that you could almost see it as side notes for Dickens’ tale. Not only do we get a glimpse into who the man Marley was and how he got that way, but we also see how he influenced Scrooge and helped to mold him into the man he became.
As the story unfolds, we are introduced to another side of some of literature’s most well-known characters and yet, it doesn’t read like a simple re-telling of Dickens’ classic tale of redemption. Marley plays such a pivotal role in the final outcome of Scrooge’s night with the spirits and he becomes a new man in our eyes just as Scrooge does in A Christmas Carol.
As the holiday season approaches, I hope that you pick this up and add this wonderful tale to your yuletide traditions. And perhaps even as a simple bedtime story to share with your children as I know A Christmas Carol in book form can be quite daunting.