Another rave review came in today for A Christmas Carol 2: The Return of Scrooge. This one from the website, Inside BJ's Head. (I have no idea what's inside BJ's head, but it seems very smart...)
It starts, "OMG!!! Really, I don't think I've laughed so much while reading a book in quite a long time. The book was refreshing, fun, and down right humorous!" And goes on from there. Well, good for BJ!
By the way, I've noticed something about the reviews that the book as been getting. When people who read it also grasp the concept that it is a comic parody, the reaction (like the one here) has been enthusiastic. Happily, I also have raves from three Dickens Societies, each of who clearly get the joke. And this has by far been the majority, as the book has a 4.3-star rating (out of five) on Amazon. However, when people somehow think it's an actual, serious sequel, they tend to like it but are bothered that it's not telling a story they were expecting. Mind you, I'm not quite sure how one can think it's an actual sequel, most especially if one reads the Introduction, but after having written long enough and seen the range of reactions over the decades, I guess I'm not all that surprised.
Interestingly, it's the latter too who have been the ones who get bothered a bit by the long footnotes, saying they find them "distracting." I want to say, "Well, then don't read them," but the issue is larger. To explain: the story includes two dozen characters from other Dickens' novels all mixed together -- which is a large part of the "joke" of the parody. However, in talking with people beforehand, most don't know the full range of Dickens' work, and when I gave some friends the early drafts to read, they said they were lost by who's who. So, I created the footnotes to identify all the characters. "Distracting" as some blog reviewers might be by the footnotes, I feel comfortable saying that most would be totally lost with these placed as endnotes, as they suggest. But there's second reason with why the footnotes are placed where they are, as well:
The way the footnotes are written, they're actually a sub-plot to the story. Most of the footnotes are supposedly letters between Dickens and his publisher. And that communication grows increasingly hostile as the book develops -- which (as the Introduction explains) is the "reason" that A Christmas Carol 2 never got published and is a "lost manuscript." So, putting them at the end, as these few reviewers suggest, would defeat the purpose. And so, when people don't understand that the book is a comic parody, again they miss that joke, as well.
I'll have more about this whole reviewing process later, but for now -- huzzah for the BJ's Heads of the world. May they ever be in the vast majority. God bless them, everyone...
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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