Thursday, January 02, 2014

Surprise! A Book Review! Skipping Christmas

Not only have I not been reading a huge amount, but I haven't reviewed a book in months and months. But here I am. Drumroll, please...

Skipping Christmas
John Grisham
Adult Fiction
Format: Audio CD
You might like this book if you want a quick holiday read, enjoy modern fables, stories with quick, positive character arcs, or are a fan of Grisham's writing.

These CDs were a really nice gift to us from a family Sam knew on his mission. We visited them the first weekend we were in California this past holiday season and really enjoyed getting to know them. We told them of our plans to drive all over central and southern California during the course of our trip and the next morning Mr. S dropped this off at our hotel. How considerate is that? An audio book about Christmas to listen to while driving hundreds of miles. I was touched. His recommendation was sincere and we plugged it in.

Grisham, as you may know, is a reliably good  storyteller. I've enjoyed plenty of his legal thrillers and was curious about how he would handle Christmas. He actually did a pretty satisfying job. His story about Luther and Nora Krank accurately describes the craziness of a modern, only-tangentially-religious Christmas celebration.  

Luther and Nora are well-off and comfortable in their lives, but Luther is immediately drawn as the Scrooge/Grinch of the story, and he plays his part well. He is disgusted with the cost of Christmas along with all the hassles of their traditional, gaudy, all-out decorations and celebrations. He decides to skip the holiday entirely this year, which means not participating in anything they normally do, including buying a tree from the boy scouts and throwing their annual party.

The plot moves along quickly and the resolution is instructive, making it a true modern fable.The primary lesson learned is about turning from one kind of self-indulgence to another. The message that Christmas actually can't be measured in dollars and other outward quantifiers came across to me. Luther and Nora get it in the end and all is well, topped off with just the right amount of sweet sentimentality. And of course, as just about every proper Christmas story does, this one highlights The fundamental truth of Christ's teachings. No matter how hard the world tries to separate the celebration from the Savior, it always comes back in the end: Love One Another.

And that makes this a most appropriate, if less traditional, addition to my Christmas literature.

Thank you Sanders Family!

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