Thursday, January 14, 2016

Book Review: The Further Adventures of Ebenezer Scrooge

Even though Christmas is over, I couldn't help but pick up this little volume by Charlie Lovett extending Charles Dickens's beloved A Christmas Carol. I'm not sure what I was expecting. I guess I was thinking it might bring the story up to the twenty-first century, but it really didn't. If felt more like a simple retelling of the well-known, age-old tale.

First off, the novella takes place in the summer and that seemed an odd choice for a follow-up tale to extend the Christmas Carol.  I get that the author wanted to demonstrate Scrooge's vow to keep the spirit of Christmas all year long, but it was a bit over the top, his prancing around wishing everyone a Merry Christmas in the sweltering summer. Moreover, I thought the impetus for the visits from the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future would be something other than the original need for Marley to lighten his chains in death. Scrooge is intent upon changing the lives of more people and thus he brings the ghosts to several individuals (his nephew and his partner, Bob Cratchet - a man I could not imagine requiring the assistance indicated in this telling - and two bankers - whom he names Mr. Pleasant and Mr. Portly, which felt very Dickensian).

Once again, understanding is gained and hearts are softened. Spoilers: The nephew is encouraged to become a member of Parliament in order to take action against poverty and injustice. Cratchet's workaholism (really? Cratchet ... father of Tiny Tim, guilty of never spending time with his family?) is countered as he begins to realize he is missing the lives of his children and grandchildren by refusing to take time off his work. The bankers recognize the need to find a philanthropist who is willing to cover Mr. Scrooge's unfunded checks to aid societies (had the Scrooge of this tale been more balanced, he could have funded the checks with ease).

I love the works of Dickens and I loved the numerous nods to Dickens throughout this telling. Still, I wanted a bit more from this sequel. I wanted it to go deeper or further afield. While I think it was a valiant effort, I don't know that I would declare it a must read for the holidays. If you are a big fan of Dickens, it might be worth your while to read this imitation of Dickens, but the original hits the mark well enough on its own.


Kate Unger said...

Interesting. I didn't even know this book existing. Good review, but I think I'll pass. :)

Wendy said...

Welcome to my blog, Kate. Yes, if I'd read this review, even as a Dickens lover, I would have passed on the book, too.