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Marley - The Other Christmas Carol by Donald Allen Kirch

Marley - The Other Christmas Carol - Donald Allen Kirch, Donald Allen Kirch, J. Scott Bennett

Marley has been trapped, haunting Ebeneezer Scrooge’s old house for several generations.  The chains still weigh down his ghostly form. He waits for a path of redemption but can’t see it ever happening. He’s a pretty depressed ghost. He becomes even more depressed when he learns an American family is about to move in.

The Kringles are from Los Angeles. Beverly was transferred by her law firm to the London branch. Den is a househusband and writer. Kathy is their nine year old daughter, and the first to suspect that there is a ghost living in their new home. Kathy’s parents argue off and on throughout the tale, mostly about who contributes the most to the household. I liked that the wife had the high-power high-paying job and all the resultant stress as the husband struggled with his writing and being a good stay-at-home parent. I did have a little giggle when Den was a little insulted at the thought of taking on a secretarial job.

Kathy is a good kid. She treats the family butler, Tobias, as a potential friend and talks a lot to her mouse doll (Manny). Her Christmas wish is for her parents to stop fighting and for them to be a loving family. It’s very cute. Because her parents are so wrapped up in their own problems, Kathy gets neglected a bit. If Tobias wasn’t around, she wouldn’t have much adult company at all.

There’s plenty of TV references that I enjoyed – Star Trek and who makes the better Homes – Jeremy Brett or Basil Rathbone? These cultural touchstones plus the whole Marley’s ghost and The Christmas Carol make it all rather nostalgic. I grew up on all these shows (that Disney version of The Christmas Carol with Scrooge McDuck) and so there was plenty here for me.

Eventually, tragedy hits the Kringles family and Marley’s ghost appears to the parents warning them to change their ways. They have a deadline and neither think they can make it happen. The ending was sweet even if a bit predictable. I think this is another great addition to the feel-good family-oriented Christmas season stories. I did feel the most for Marley and his plight, with Kathy a close second.

 

I received a copy of this book at no cost from the narrator in exchange for an honest review.

Narration: J. Scott Bennett did a really good job with the British accents. I liked Marley’s hopeless voice and the occasional disgust in reference to Americans moving in to the neighborhood. The Kringles all got a kind of hick accent that was better suited for Texas or perhaps Oklahoma, but not modern-day Los Angeles. Bennett’s female voices were distinct and I liked his little kid voice for Kathy.