"A Christmas Carol 2: The Return of Scrooge" is a continuation of the beloved Christmas tale, that quickly goes flying off in its own comic direction. It begins five years after dear old Ebenezer Scrooge has passed away and left his thriving firm to his former clerk, Bob Cratchit. However, Bob's overly-generous benevolence with lending and charity-giving has driven the company into the ground, on the verge of bankruptcy. And so the ghost of Scrooge returns one Christmas Eve to teach Cratchit the true meaning of money. Making the swirling journey through Christmases past, present, and yet-to-be all the more of a chaotic ride for Cratchit are the dozens of characters from other Dickens novels woven throughout the story, together for the first time. God bless them, most everyone.I jumped at the chance to review A Christmas Carol 2 by Robert J. Elisberg because, really, who hasn't read or seen A Christmas Carol? And I've been in a Christmas mood lately so this one seemed like a really good idea.
We find Bob Cratchit 5 years after the death of his benefactor, friend, and boss, Ebenezer Scrooge. His firm is in dire straights, his family is unhappy, and his co-workers have given up on him. The ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future don't want to visit with him so they find stand ins who are definitely not happy about the task of escorting good old Bob around.
I will be honest (I'm always honest, but it just sounds like something that should be said before you tell people you were disappointed), but I WAS disappointed. Maybe it was that I expected more out of the story, I don't know. Now, don't get me wrong, I didn't HATE it. But it was a little frustrating to read.
The footnotes at the bottom of (seemingly) almost every page was very distracting and made reading through the book slow and choppy. I loved seeing characters from other Dickens novels, but after a while I stopped reading the footnotes just so I could finish the book.
I felt like Bob was made to be this incredibly stupid and ignorant buffoon who had no clue about ANYTHING and that bothered me. I felt like the book was one of those comedians that gets up and cracks these jokes that just get NO laughs and you feel REALLY bad for them but still can't bring yourself to laugh so they feel better.... It was painful.
However. It WAS interesting to see just what 5 years had done to Scrooge & Marley under Cratchit's thumb. It was interesting to see Oliver Twist and the Artful Dodger pop up, along with numerous other characters from several other stories. That was enjoyable. I love seeing nods to other books or movies or tv shows in stories like that. So I think that was definitely a good call.
The ending redeemed the book for me. Not entirely, but it kept me from feeling like I shouldn't have read it. It was quick though. I wish that it had been drawn out a bit longer but what can you do?
I would recommend this as a read for those of you looking for a more... slapstick version of a Charles Dickens novel. An "Abbot and Costello" version perhaps. Because that's what it felt like. While it may not have been my personal cup of tea, it seems to have gotten good reviews from others, so don't let mine stop you from picking it up!