Review & Top Quotes for On Top of the World by David Lamb, Black Contemporary Romance Retelling


On Top of the World

by David Lamb

Genre: Contemporary, Romance,
Age: Adult
Format: Ebook, 214 pgs.
Source: F2R
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Recommendable? Yes
2016 BEST FICTION-Pacific Book Awards. FROM THE FUNNY AND NATURALLY BRILLIANT DAVID LAMB, award-winning playwright of the New York Times celebrated play, Platanos Y Collard Greens, comes a modern spin on Dickens' classic tale that perfectly combines humor and romance in a story re-imagined for our digital, consumerist age.

This version of Scrooge and Belle is familiar, yet unlike any you've come across before. Scrooge, or rather Scrooje, is music's biggest superstar, with one hundred million albums sold, fifteen million devoted YouTube subscribers, two and a half million Facebook likes, and twenty-five million fanatical Twitter followers known as Scroojites.

Belle, is a legal shark who gulps down her opposition voraciously and whose beauty and stunning figure causes traffic accidents as she zips through the sidewalks of Manhattan stylishly adorned and taking no prisoners. They never imagined being music's most powerful couple, but that's exactly what happened when Belle fell head over heels and gave the Coke-bottle glasses wearing, plaid and stripe attired, scrawny, biggest nerd on her college campus the ultimate makeover, turning him into a fashion impresario whose style sets trends from Milan to NY Fashion Week and who can be seen courtside at the NBA Finals sporting a perfectly-fitted cashmere suit. Then it happens. Belle realizes too late that she's created a chart-topping monster as Scrooje's ego explodes and he starts acting a fool.

Now, it's been three years since they ve spoken. But tonight at Hollywood s biggest red carpet event, with the whole world watching, they'll be given a second chance.

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The Good The Bad & The Other
+Loved the writing and the voices =Wasn’t expecting it’d be this close to the original Christmas Carol
+Setup is brilliant -Not a romantic comedy like the blurb on Goodreads states
+Love the social commentary & critique
+Can totally see it being a movie
+Light, easy, and fun read


First Sentence:
The devil doesn’t wear Prada, he wears Sean John and I was the idiot that taught him how to shop.

On Top of the World starts with a prologue from Belle, who immediately grabbed me. Most of my highlights come from her in fact. I love her voice and POV.

However most of the book is told by Scrooje. And in his present state he’s more loathsome and damaging than the original Ebenezer ever was. Again, the voice was perfectly captured and helped keep me reading even when I wouldn’t want to be anywhere near nor associated with the fuckface.

More than that though, I wanted to know how and why he became the monster he is, especially with Belle describing meeting him in college…Seems like a guy I’d go for, which was part AWWWW and part Oh Gods No given how he turned out.


I was honestly skeptical he could be redeemed at first. I wanted him to be, but good lord… I was waiting for the two to meet again after 3 years to get the ball rolling, make him work for it, and that’s when the ghosts showed up.

I wasn’t expecting that, to be honest. Given the romantic comedy mentioned in the blurb, I’d thought it was about them working it out and shenanigans. Instead, we have a Ghosts of Past, Present, and Future leading the way with an epiphany. Afterwards, it’s a 180 turnaround and a happily ever after with a message.

The names and roles the character’s play remain much the same from A Christmas Carol, but not only is it updated to contemporary times, it doesn’t center around Christmas. WHICH I REALLY, REALLY LOVE. I do not like charity only revolving around holidays. As someone who’s been on the receiving side of charity, ya’ll are fake as fuck doing that.

Making it about a black mogul, his journey from the projects to superstardom and the industry is brilliant. It pulls no punches about black exploitation in our white supremacist society. That was plain on the surface. What really got me though was the underlying “he couldn’t have done it without black women.” In fact, besides his friends and one teacher that came later, his foundation was the black women in his life.

They loved him, saved him, made him. And it’s heart wrenching to see him betray them so. At one point, there’s discussion of black women boycotting him and his acts because of his anti-blackness misogyny. He comes home when he realizes how much he owes them and how wrong he’s been. I just wish it was acknowledged in words, instead of being the unseen, unappreciated backbone of the novel.

Our love was stronger than your pride
-Beyoncé, Lemonade

Aside to Ponder: Funny, how he exists with all these well-known acts, like Russell Simmons and Fifty, but I don’t see black women mentioned. Where is Oprah, Queen Latifah, Shonda Rhimes, Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, and Beyoncé? There’s mention of Michelle alongside Barack Obama, but no one on the contemporary entertainment stage, which is glaring in its absence. Especially Beyoncé, whose music would resonate well with Belle’s struggles. Or is Belle the quietly leaving, ego-protecting version of Beyoncé in this reality? What does that say about Scrooje and his author, given Beyoncé’s black feminist message? Or am I reading too much into it?


I was thrown when the ghosts popped up. Since it’s billed as a romantic comedy, I was expecting something a bit different than the straight re-telling. Once I was over my initial uh…shock, I got into it again. But there isn’t much time spent between Scrooje and Belle in the present time. So if you’re looking for the traditional romantic comedy like Bridget Jone’s Diary (ugh), How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (love), or Two Can Play That Game (favorite) you’ll be disappointed.

It’s more like Love and Hip Hop meets A Christmas Carol.

I did enjoy it but I found myself disappointed since I was expecting something different than an on -the-nose retelling. With the right expectations going in, I’m sure it’ll be better received. It stands out because of its content, writing, and themes but I can’t give 5 or 4 stars because of feeling misled. For me, it’s a good, light, entertaining read earning 3.5 stars.


An ego the size of Texas yet more fragile than an egg yolk

But let a woman have one eyelash out of place, and it’ll be the lead on the evening news.

Greed is more than good – it’s the best of the seven deadly sins since it makes the other six possible.

A miser is a coward whose heart has been swallowed by the fear that if he’s charitable he’ll be broke, disrespected, and abandoned.

He swept you off your feet. Then pull the rug out from under you.

Scrooje was driven by an ego so large it had its own zip code and so fragile it needed intensive care.





About the Author

David Lamb is a native New Yorker, born and raised, bitten with the writing bug since he was in elementary school and had handwriting nobody could decipher. Like Charles Dickens, David grew up a poor boy in the big city who found that the pen really is mightier than the sword. After finishing college David went on to law school at NYU, but all the time writing was still his heart. While working as a lawyer by day, at night he transformed into a writer and eventually wrote and produced the award-winning hit off-Broadway romantic comedy Platanos Y Collard Greens. Being a writer and having the chance make people laugh out loud while challenging them to think about the world around them, and inspire each of us to believe in the power of love and our own ability to overcome life’s challenges is a great gift that David truly enjoys and thanks you for allowing him to share with you in On Top Of The World (Until The Bell Chimes)





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