Another Review at MyShelf.Com

Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: November 2003
ISBN:   0-06-053421-4
Format Reviewed: Hardcover / Reviewed ARC
Buy it at Amazon
Read an Excerpt
Genre: Mystery/ Contemporary
Reviewed: 2004
Reviewer:   Kristin Johnson
Reviewer Notes:  Kristin Johnson released her second book, CHRISTMAS COOKIES ARE FOR GIVING, co-written with Mimi Cummins, in October 2003.Her third book, ORDINARY MIRACLES: My Incredible Spiritual, Artistic and Scientific Journey, co-written with Sir Rupert A.L. Perrin, M.D., will be published by PublishAmerica in 2004.

Mr. Timothy
By Louis Bayard

      Who doesn't love A Christmas Carol as well as the myriad movies and retellings it has spawned (the best being the 1980s version with George C. Scott as Ebenezer Scrooge, "Mickey's Christmas Carol" and Patrick Stewart's one-man show)? But did you wonder if Ebenezer was, to Tiny Tim, a "second father"? What happened to Bob Cratchit…and to Tiny Tim himself?

     For those who still bear a grudge against Charles Dickens for all those high school and college readings of Hard Times and A Tale of Two Cities, Louis Bayard's novel Mr. Timothy is not the Cliff's Notes version of literature but a worthy successor to Dickens, with the same superb special touch for arousing suspense and horror. Ghosts follow young Tiny Tim, now grown into Mr. Timothy Cratchit, specifically a young girl as well as venerable old Bob. Timothy's life is already surreal as he teaches Robinson Crusoe in secret to Mrs. Sharpe, a madam of a high-class brothel, the Heidi Fleiss of her day…that is, if Heidi Fleiss dealt in child prostitution. The plot against foreign young girls Timothy uncovers, with the help of an engaging Italian orphan and victim named Philomela and a Haley Joel Osment-type youngster Colin the Melodious, makes even Michael Jackson look normal. In the wake of the Elizabeth Smart, Danielle van Dam, and JonBenet Ramsey cases, this novel serves as an unexpected social commentary. Dickens would surely have approved.

     Dickens would also have enjoyed Timothy Cratchit, his tender kinship with Ebenezer Scrooge (not quite an uncle, but as it turns out, a father figure for Colin the Melodious), his own conflicted feelings about pedophilia from a former tutor (no, it's not the Gloved One gone Victorian), his awkward relationships with women, his father-son kinship with the salty sea dog Captain Gully, hand his search for a place in the world beyond his childhood Pip-like fantasy of being whisked away and being made a gentleman.

     The characters are more flawed and likeable than Dickensian models, the villains are the epitome of evil, and we get to see Tiny Tim become "Not so tiny any more."