Another week gone, another entry from the 2015 reading challenge: earlier I received “Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol” and couldn’t help reading it waaaay too early. It didn’t take long, being a fifty-page play that’s essentially a retelling of “A Christmas Carol”, with Marley pretending to be the Ghosts of Christmas Past and Present, and being redeemed himself when he tries to take Scrooge’s place when Death appears and Marley believes his own toils with Scrooge have not yet borne fruit. I didn’t like it nearly as much as I thought I would, in part because it’s so rushed. In Dickens’ original, Marley claims that for many years he has tried to reach Scrooge, but here he dies, learns he’s been a bad boy, and is immediately offered a chance out of foul punishment: he has to save Scrooge. The play picks up right where A Christmas Carol starts. There’s no seven years of anguish as Marley is tormented by the weight of his selfishness, just the faint realization that all of the scorn he heaps upon Scrooge applies to him as well. There are nice moments, though: Marley pausing during a speech on Scoorge having forged his chains link by link, yard by yard in recognition that he is damning himself, and some dark comedy when Marley and his guardian angel/demon-thing congratulate one another on a superb Death costume, only to realize that’s actually DEATH approaching Scrooge. That does take care of a work set during Christmas, though, so all that’s left is A Classic Romance. It doesn’t seem hard, but I’m constantly distracted by war and horses and — I’ve just purchased a book on the electrical grid. I’m not making it easier on myself, am I?
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