Book Review by
During this time of year, you might see the movie “A Christmas Carol” on TV. Most of us are familiar with Ebenezer Scrooge, the grumpy old man who only cares about money and himself, depicted in Charles Dickens’ classic book “A Christmas Carol.” The journey Scrooge takes into Christmases past, present and future, can make us consider what we would have done differently and has no doubt made many consider their present and future priorities. The story is a classic, and many times classics have further tales to tell.
In a new book, “Jacob T. Marley: The Story of the Ghost who visited Scrooge,” William Bennett brings readers deeper into the story, perhaps more than ever before. Bennett is a former president of the corporate division of Franklin Covey, a management, consulting and training company. He is also the author of “The Christmas Gift,” published in 2010.
In “Jacob T. Marley,” Bennett takes the reader on a journey that goes beyond the classic story and shows the relationship between the former business partners Scrooge and Marley. Those familiar with the story will know that after Marley died, he came back to visit Scrooge and warn him of his fate. Scrooge’s life would never be the same.
“I believe everyone gets a shot at redemption,” says Bennett. “Dickens gave us a peek into that process for Jacob Marley. I wanted to explore the rest of his story.”
Bennett tells the story of Marley, who was sick – on his deathbed. All he had was a nurse, who was paid to take care of him. His doctor advised Scrooge that the nurse was a waste of Marley’s money so she was sent home. Here Scrooge took the opportunity to gain Marley’s estate. Marley lay there unable to voice opposition. The gentlemen conversing with Scrooge felt uncomfortable, but Scrooge continued, and as Marley finally grew able to mutter a sound, Scrooge dismissed his words as gibberish.
Marley passed on to meet Spirit and learned that humans who were unable to forgive and love were forced to wander the earth visiting those they had wronged but they had no ability to correct the past acts. Marley, though, forgave Scrooge as he was on his deathbed and was able to experience love for the first time. Even though others had tried to warn Scrooge, Spirit granted Marley the ability to visit Scrooge and attempt to show him his fate if he did not change. Spirit also explains the significance of the “T” in Jacob T. Marley’s name.
Bennett examines, in Dickensian detail, the prideful and ruthless taskmaster who taught Scrooge how to be Scrooge. Similar to “Wicked,” the story that gave further insight into Wicked Witch in “The Wizard of Oz,” Bennett’s new novel illuminates how the two men became who they were, what went on behind the scenes on Scrooge’s fateful night and what happened to both men after the encounter.
Bennett says, “I count myself as one of Dickens’ biggest fans. … I’ve always been intrigued by Marley’s character in ‘A Christmas Carol.’”