Monday, November 10, 2014

JACOB T. MARLEY by R. William Bennett


“Marley was dead to begin with . . .”

These chillingly familiar words begin the classic Christmas tale of remorse and redemption in A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Now R. William Bennett rewinds the story and focuses the spotlight on Scrooge’s miserly business partner, Jacob T. Marley, who was allowed to return as a ghost to warn Scrooge away from his ill-fated path. Why was Marley allowed to return? And why hadn’t he been given the same chance as Ebenezer Scrooge?

Or had he?


R. WILLIAM (BILL) BENNETT spent more than thirty years in business, most recently as a division president of FranklinCovey. The author of the award-winning novella The Christmas Gift, Bill and his family live in Alpine, Utah. You can contact him at


I sometimes have a hard reading books like this that go back and take an original story and offer another take on it.  But I found myself really enjoying this one.  It's a very thought-provoking look at redemption and forgiveness and making choices that lead us to become what we do.  Jacob T. Marley let his pride and greed get the better of him at great harm to himself and everyone he came in contact with.  And when he and Scrooge met up they had the same flaws and they fed off each other making things worse.  And until the day he died Marley never once stopped to think about how his choices had shaped his life.  As he lay dying, he watched Scrooge manipulating his way into Marley's house, he realizes for the first time how much harm he has done.

Obviously we don't really know why Marley does what he does in the original story, A Christmas Carol, something changes that leads him to want to prevent Scrooge from ending up in the same sort of situation.  Bennett gives the reader a look at what might have been.  I found myself thoroughly enthralled with the portrayal of Marley as he seeks to help Scrooge take a different path. And in the end he does something that during his mortal life he would never have done.  Frankly it had me in tears.  The story is so well told and beautifully highlights the joys of serving those around us and that the true treasures in life don't revolve around money.  A story of bad choices, remorse, and change that becomes possible through the sacrifice of our Savior.  A novel truly worthy of the Christmas season.

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