Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Book Review: Christmas Carol

By Miriam Plotinsky

Over the years, several witty parodies of Charles Dickens seasonal favorite A Christmas Carol have made the rounds. One of the best I’ve encountered was part of an episode of Animaniacs, a cartoon that should have had a longer and more prominent life, but I’ll have to take that up with Steven Spielberg. In any case, it would be hard to top some of the riffs on Dickens’ theme given the large number of takeoffs that exist, but Michele Gorman gives the story an adorable new treatment in her novella, Christmas Carol.

Aptly named protagonist Carol finds herself in a comedy of errors when her family, along with several ex-boyfriends, all reunite in Scotland for her older sister Marley’s wedding (in this version, Marley is not a ghost but a very real human being). The wedding is held amid a blizzard that conveniently strands all of the characters in the same place until Carol can work out the ghosts of relationships past. Though she is by no means a Scrooge, Carol is a work-oriented woman who claims to lack some of the more natural instincts attributed to womanhood, like openness and vulnerability. I would never see these deficiencies as a serious problem, but apparently, Carol needs to be fixed.

In due time, Carol gets in touch with her feelings and the book proceeds in true romantic comedy form. However, her supposed character flaws aren’t really that clear, except perhaps toward the end of the novel when Carol makes a conscious effort to be a better girlfriend. Until then, the book’s direction is somewhat unclear, as is the parody element of Dickens’ work. Still, there is enough cute interplay between characters to make the story enjoyable.

This fluffy replaying of A Christmas Carol may not be the most clever take on the original out there, but it’s a lot of fun. The characters are appealing, the pace quick, and the dialogue witty. Gorman’s book is a pleasant way to kick off the Christmas season. Now all I have to do is try to get Animaniacs reruns back on the air so that I can watch Wakko, Yakko and Dot work their magic on the literary classic.

Thanks to Michele Gorman for the e-novella in exchange for an honest review. You can connect with her at Facebook and Twitter.

You might also enjoy:

No comments: