I found this to be a very moving story. Sometimes it flowed right along, others it stuttered. Sometimes I wished it was done, others I didn't want itI found this to be a very moving story. Sometimes it flowed right along, others it stuttered. Sometimes I wished it was done, others I didn't want it to end because I knew what was coming. But given the life Henry DeTamble leads, I'd have to say that sort of movement was only entirely accurate....more
I really enjoyed this story, but found myself frustrated semi-regularly. To me, there's nothing worse than conversation you trip over, and to keep runI really enjoyed this story, but found myself frustrated semi-regularly. To me, there's nothing worse than conversation you trip over, and to keep running head into it in the midst of an otherwise smooth tale irked me. That said, the concept was incredible, and the story told really well. Even if I feel a bit cliff-hung by the ending....more
Welcome to A Christmas Carol: the Valentine's Day Version, a truly inspired retelling.
Marly has died, after a slow withering away, leaving her boyfrieWelcome to A Christmas Carol: the Valentine's Day Version, a truly inspired retelling.
Marly has died, after a slow withering away, leaving her boyfriend Ben alone. And as most of us would probably be quick to do, Ben needs to lay blame. So he blames the world, and love, and life. Love tricked him, left him. He decides it can't be trusted. And that no one else should trust it, believe in it, or experience it either. If possible, this is even more heartbreaking thatn all that the original Scrooge looses out on due to Greed.
Ben's friends don't want to give up on him though. At least, not faithful Fred. Only Ben can't let him in. He can't stand to see him with his girlfriend Sarah, a continuation of the life Ben once had. With Valentine's day approaching, Ben begins to loose his hold on himself, and starts lashing out. That night, he gets lashed back.
Marly arrives in much the same fashion as in any other variant of the tale, only this time she's a teenage girl, and her chain is a chain made up of pieces of her past with Ben. Once a perfect length, it has been made ponderous because he can't let her go. It's too much for her to carry.
Unwilling to watch Ben suffer, and give up on life, she has arranged with three spirits to meet with him. He understands that she must have gone through much to get him this chance, that she wants to save him, so he tries to keep an open mind. Yet when the first spirit is due, no longer so sure, he resorts to hiding beneath his sheet.
The Spirit of Love Past brings Ben back to earlier days. Days before Marly came into his life, the day she did--and he failed to really notice. He travels through better times, beautiful times, and begins to remember what he's shut off. The Spirit of Love Present arrives on a thrown of Valentines and love letters, and travels with him throughout his town, celebrating love, showing him it still exists, that it is in fact not far removed from life itself. Indeed, without love, life can't survive.
He sees a special night with Marly, at the apartment of a friend. He sees the same apartment, with a new couple inside, sharing a special night. The very couple he errupted in front of that very day. Already his harsh words have planted tiny poisonous seeds between them.
The final Spirit shows him a loveless world. People ill-speaking the dead, Tiny and Tim broken up, not speaking. A distraught Fred and a furious Sarah. A furious Marly, if she were still alive. His appreciation for life renewed, Ben hopes to avoid facing the truth, but isn't given the option.
Ben wakes on Valentine's Day full of joy and loving everything. A young boy runs to the Florist to buy him their largest bouquet. He goes shopping and buys presents for all of his friends, to be delivered at the Anti-Valentine's Day party. Hehas set off with a passion on his new path: one where love and life are ell-encompassing, to be treasured.
I truly hope this book will be read in schools. It's a wonderful re-visioning of a Classic, with plenty of merit of its own, and at the very least would make for a great comparative essay. I had no idea what the story was about when I bought the book--the decision was made based solely on the author. But Marly's Ghost turned out to be more than I had expected, and will sit on the shelf reserved for my Favorite Books, to be read repeatedly....more