A Maine Christmas Carol
by Philip F. Harris
Reviewed by Annette Gisby, UK, author of Silent Screams and Shadows of the Rose.
"At thirteen Thomas Johnson, known as T.J. loses his father in Iraq just before Christmas, at fifteen his girlfriend commits suicide and by sixteen he has
gone completely off the rails, taking drugs, hitting his younger brother and having no interest in anything except where
his next fix is coming from. His mother is a social worker and T.J. is jealous of all the time she spends helping other
people and feels she doesn't care about her own family at all. He has everything money can buy but money can't
buy what he really wants, his mother's time and attention. He has no idea how to cope with the mess his life has
become and Christmas is just another horrible day in his horrible life and he refuses to go with his mother and siblings
to his uncle's house to celebrate.
Staying in the house on his own, he is visited by the ghost of his father, but T.J. thinks it's just the drugs he was taking.
Then his is visited by three other spirits, of his past, present and future and nothing will be the same after that night.
A modern retelling of the Dickens' tale, I wasn't sure if I was going to like this one. I have to say I was pleasantly
surprised how much I did enjoy it. I'm normally not that keen on modernized versions of anything and I wasn't sure
how I was going to relate to a drug addict.
Although short, the book packs a punch and Thomas was more of a sympathetic character than I had anticipated.
Considering all the terrible things that happened in his short life, you could almost understand why he turned to drugs
in the first place as a way to cope or to avoid his problems.
Not a word is wasted and you are drawn into the story fairly quickly. The end of the book is a message of hope
and it leaves you with a warm feeling that makes you want to hunt out the Christmas tree and curl up with a mug of
hot chocolate, even if I did read it in October. TJ’s transformation from surly, disenfranchised youth to a more grown
up and responsible young man is deftly handled and although the book ends just at the beginning of that transformation,
you know that all will be well for the Johnsons from now on.
A great read."
This new classic is now avialble from Capri Publishing.