By: David Jay Weinberg
Publisher: Old Fezziwig Press
Publication Date: April 25, 2023
Reviewed by: Barbara Bamberger Scott
Review Date: November 16, 2022
Author David Jay Weinberg has created a fascinating tale based around a book that has faded from attention in recent decades: A Christmas Carol, by the famed English writer of the previous century, Charles Dickens. Weinberg’s perspective takes the tale on an up-to-date, rollicking ride as it focuses both on Dickens’ central character, Ebeneezer Scrooge, and on the man who appears in the original work only as a ghost – Jacob Marley.
In Weinberg’s treatment, Marley is still a specter wandering the mystic realms of afterlife seeking but one thing: vindication. He had been portrayed by Dickens as Scrooge’s business partner in a mutual finance venture who had died and found himself condemned, forever chained to his earthly greed. Scrooge, in the original work, would meet the same fate if he did not repent of his avarice. Both personages have now taken earthly bodies, though only for a few days – so the timeframe is crucial. Marley has cleverly contacted a discouraged young woman, Andrea Smilow, whose once-promising career as a playwright seems doomed until the spirit from the literary past makes a daring suggestion: compose a play about him, proving that he was dragged into perfidy by the even more greedy Scrooge. Dickens’ portrayal, he claims, ruined his reputation, a wrong that now can be righted by Smilow. But behind the scenes in this wackily wonderful scenario is Scrooge himself, working with Smilow’s roommate Beth who just happens to be a witch – the good kind, we are assured, as she agrees with Ebeneezer to bring Marley and Smilow together and affect a new, happier existence for his old business buddy. Smilow tunes in to Marley’s idea, and the plot quickens.
Weinberg is clearly a practiced painter of fantasy writ large, here revealing engaging touches of irony, sarcasm, and an over-arching, satisfying theme: redemption of a much-maligned Marley through public exposure and private, slowly blooming romantic love with a savvy female. Those readers familiar with Dickens’ creation along with those simply keen to immerse in this fast-moving saga will immediately grasp Weinberg’s subtle dynamics and begin to see Scrooge in a new light. Once the self-absorbed anti-hero whose very name became associated with money-grubbing, Scrooge will now fashion his own personal atonement by rewarding the disgraced Marley in more ways than one. Weinberg’s goal is accomplished with wry touches of other-worldly machinations, vintage details such as wardrobe and accent, and the up-to-the-minute development of a strong, savvy woman seeking, losing, and suddenly on the verge of recouping well-deserved success.
Quill says: Readers of intelligent comedy, well-plotted amours, and almost-logical fantasy will enjoy Weinberg’s Scrooge’s Folly – an intriguing inter-meshing of classic literature with thoroughly modern memes.
For more information on Scrooge’s Folly – Saving Jacob Marley, please visit the author's website at: davidweinbergauthor.com/