On Top Of The World by David Lamb

On Top Of The World

(Until The Bell Chimes)
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KIRKUS REVIEW

An updated version of A Christmas Carol filled with rap moguls, pop-culture references, and plenty of heartwarming romance.

Lamb’s (Do Platanos Go Wit’ Collard Greens, 2013, etc.) novel tells the story of Scrooje Ebonyzer, a power-hungry, money-loving music producer with a rags-to-riches back story. Scrooje was a nerdy, introverted product of the foster-care system until he met and started dating the beautiful, sophisticated Belle in college; she transformed him into a handsome, charismatic young man with confidence. After graduation, Belle decided to attend law school and Scrooje wanted to be a teacher—until he realized that he could make much more money making music with his friends. All was well until Scrooje became a money-obsessed egomaniac, releasing songs with negative messages and betraying his friends in the process. At the start of the book, Scrooje is wildly rich, overtly greedy, and somewhat hated by the people in his circle. He’s also extremely lonely, having lost his wife to divorce and his best friend, Marley, in an accidental drowning. One night, Scrooje is visited by several ghosts—including Marley’s—who make him revisit the generous people in his past and take a look at what his future could be, in order to show him that his greed isn’t worth the repercussions. The plot and characters of Lamb’s book cleverly parallel those in the classic Charles Dickens tale, with Belle, Scrooje’s true love; Cratchit, his goofy former friend whom he cheats out of hard-earned money; and Marley, who warns him of the perils of selfishness, all playing similar roles. But although the story and characters are similar to Dickens’, Lamb includes plenty of current allusions to make the story feel more relevant and its message pertinent to modern life. The author even manages to work in a timely political reference to Donald Trump: “How was I supposed to know that after ‘Money Like Trump’ hit number one on Billboard’s Hot 100 that the man was gonna start talking about rounding up Mexicans and banning Muslims?”

An engaging, heartwarming, humorous morality tale for our digital, consumerist age.

Pub Date: Oct. 20th, 2016
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Woolly Mammoth Books
Program: Kirkus Indie
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