Vee is on a forced mental health hiatus until 16th June. See you then!

Review of Marly's Ghost by David Levithan

by - November 29, 2011

When Ben's girlfriend, Marly, dies, he feels his life is over. What could possibly matter now when Marly is gone? So when Valentine's Day approaches, it makes sense that this day that was once so meaningful to Ben leaves him feeling bitter and hollow. But then Marly shows up - or at least her ghost does - along with three other spirits. Now Ben must take a painful journey through Valentine's Days past, present, and future, and what he discovers will change him forever.

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Yep, you've guessed it - this is a modern day retelling of the famous A Christmas Carol. This short book tells of Ben's journey after the death of his girlfriend, Marley. Some interesting elements are added here - for instance Tiny Tim has now become a male gay couple and Valentine's Day has replaced Christmas. The rest of the elements are kept quite similar and it's interesting comparing the two books.

However, I was completely let down by this story. It's essentially A Christmas Carol copied and pasted, to the point where 'Ben' (Ebenezer, geddit?) sounds like an English Victorian man, rather than a young American kid. The concept of Tiny Tim being a gay couple did work - at first - but then it became so ridiculously cheesy and over-sentimental that I nearly spewed pink fluffy rainbows. The author calls this a 'remix' and I'm all for retellings, as long as the plot feels original and this does not in any way. I could still feel the cold harsh Victorian Streets as the story was being told and I had to frequently remind myself that I was supposed to be in modern America and Ben was a teenager, not an old man. 
The house that Ben lives in doesn't help towards the retelling either - he has a doorknocker, which makes me believe that either the Author couldn't think of what to use instead or that he just couldn't be bothered. Also, Ben has a great big fireplace in his bedroom. Of all the hundreds of YA books I've read, I've never heard of anyone having a fireplace in their bedroom. It didn't really seem to serve a purpose except to confuse me.


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