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Ebenezer Kindle Edition
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|Length: 282 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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Unlike Dickens' Scrooge, this Ebenezer doesn't have vast wealth to make everything better for everyone, either; she's an ordinary person who has to live with the consequences of what she's done, and can change the world only by working with other people. That's life too. If Vanderhooft was aiming to use fantasy to show life as it is, with its ups and downs and quirks, I'd say she's succeeded.
It's not the sort of happily-ever-after Dickens wrote, but might be more inspiring for that.
I think the problem with using a classic like "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens that we all know and love as the template for a modern retelling (however loosely) is that we're going to expect a little magic like the original... maybe some strong characterization and an ending that is as fulfilling as Scrooge is flawed.
Technically, this is well-written. It's the storytelling that I take issue with. I didn't even take issue with the subject matter. This is a very bleak story-- only not in a very interesting way. I spent 80% of this book kinda bored and half-engaged in all her darkness... and it ended not with a bang, but a whimper...
Instead of Scrooge, we meet New York lesbian Ebenezer. She is on the cusp of 30 and giving in to what appears to be some level of hereditary mental illness. She's not some greedy old miser rolling in money... she's a poor debt collector wallowing in depression and inertia. She once aspired to be an actress, but somehow she just kinda gave up and found her way into a terrible job where she is forced to harass people over the phone into paying their bills. She doesn't even seem to be very good at it and is barely meeting her quota (I didn't find her to be mean and cruel or Scrooge-like at all-- and I kinda wanted her to be!). In the last year she's sunk deeper than ever into her misery and when she loses her longtime girlfriend Marley, the story really kicks in.
In come the ghosts of her past, present, and future. Unfortunately, none of them show up with a bottle of Prozac. Instead we're dragged through her sad childhood and her disconnection with the present and that ol' inevitable future which is just plain ugly.
There is a lesbian here and the remnants of a relationship past, but DO NOT choose this story with the expectation of romance (or comedy)... not that I needed these things to enjoy it... just sayin' don't expect it. There is little to laugh about in this book. I know we enjoy love being part of our happy endings... but this is a journey of the self and self-awareness. This is about an ordinary person struggling with the hand she's been dealt in life. And there are no magical answers to her misery.
The ideas are certainly interesting and if you identify with this topic or find a fascination with it then maybe it will draw you in more... personally, I just found the characterization of Ebenezer to be much too bland and the overall ride dull and unsatisfying. I don't know... perhaps it takes a certain mood or space to truly appreciate this one.
What a beautiful, breathtaking, emotionally gripping twist on the A Christmas Carol novel. The setting was so artfully described that the reader can almost feel the snowflakes, the cold, gripping wind of New York City, taste the red sand of Utah, and shrink in fear from the crushing embrace of the Future. Ebenezer was a selfish, broken, self-centered, hurt character that I ran the gamut of emotions for while reading the book. I was annoyed, sympathetic, angry, compassionate, sad, encouraging, hopeful, and at the end happy when she turned things around. The author's take on this novel was so different that I was shocked at the way things turned out between Ebenezer and Marley, even after Ebenezer's visits with the spirits, but it was the change in her relationship with Bell that most took me by surprise. And while all of these things were amazing, and well-deserving of a 10-rating, combined with the author's writing style which was at times ostentatious and overly verbose, the descriptions of the settings, characters, and situations at many times so extemporaneously described with sentences created of million-dollar words that it makes sections of the book hard to follow for anyone who does not have an extensive vocabulary.