I’ve always been a fan of reworked stories, going waaaay back to my early years in college when I was obsessed with rewriting fairy tales from all sorts of strange perspectives. It was considered odd back then, but now it seems to be the thing to do. So, when I read the description of Marly’s Ghost, I was intrigued. It’s pretty simple, really. Take A Christmas Carol and move it to Valentine’s Day 2000something and make the characters teenagers in love. The Marly in question is the dead girlfriend of our tragic hero, Ben, who has completely lost faith in love since her death. The three spirits visit Ben and show him the purity and beauty of love, and also show him what he’s missing by shutting love out of his life. The Dickens formula is followed pretty closely, and Ben ends up redeemed as expected.
I wanted to like this book. I really did. And some parts were heartbreaking. However, I just couldn’t stand Ben. I found him whiny, mean, and very unsympathetic. Kids will like this because it’s short, but I’m betting that anyone not familiar with A Christmas Carol just won’t get this.