Reviewed by Lisa J Lickel
Carol by Bob Hartman
"...encourages the reader to think about charity as an activity that involves more than a pen and checkbook."
Bob Hartman's nifty little stocking stuffer is sweet quick read for the Christmas Grinch in your life. Carol, A Story for Christmas is a "modern retelling of Dickens' 'A Christmas Carol.'" Jack O'Malley may never let out a bah, humbug, but he lets us know he's a first-class curmudgeon of the worst sort who thinks there are too many mouths to feed and a charitable check will plug the hole in his conscience. After all, he's done well for himself, has no worries or regrets. Several-times married and somewhat of a lecher, fifty-year-old Jack shakes off a near-accident while doing some hated Christmas shopping by ducking into a book store. In an attempt to grab a table in the crowded shop he collides with a beautiful young woman who apologizes for dousing him with her coffee by buying him a skinny pumpkin latte. They share a table and talk about song lyrics Carol, the young woman, has running through her mind, something about "we can change the world."
While impressing Carol with his song-recognition skills, Jack then offers to play the older tune on the sampler at the kiosk. He gets more than he hoped for when Carol leans in to share the headphones—he gets a trip back in time when she presses "rewind." Like the Ghosts of Christmases past, present and future, Carol whisks Jack on a journey to rediscover his lost dreams.
Jack is forced not only to see deprivation, but to live it; to look at what should have been, and he gets a chance to repent of his selfishness. Heavy on the starving children theme, this book encourages the reader to think about charity as an activity that involves more than a pen and checkbook. Like Jacob Marley who repented late, but was able to convince Scrooge to repent in time to make a difference, Jack gets a chance to rattle his chains in an effort to change the world…one skinny pumpkin latte at a time.
Lickel lives in Wisconsin with her high school teacher husband in a 150-year-old
Great Lakes ship captain's house. She is active in more than one historical society,
belongs to writing and reading clubs and is the editor in chief of Creative Wisconsin,
the magazine of Wisconsin Regional Writers. A graduate of the Christian Writer's
Guild, she has written newspaper features and magazine articles, radio theater,
and authored several inspirational novels. Find her online at http://lisalickel.com,