I noticed that several of my fellow book bloggers were blogging about Christmas themed books this month. Personally, I usually try to stay away from Christmas books as I find they fall into two categories ~ 1) the self-centered and recently single main character is forced to spend time with an elderly relative/friend. Said elderly relative/friend retrieves an item from the attic/basement/old desk and uses item to tell stories of his/her youth. Self-centered protagonist realizes that there is true love in life and he/she almost lost their chance at it with their recent break-up. All is resolved. Or 2) bitter protagonist (a la Scrooge) or perhaps depressed protagonist (a la George Bailey) has pretty much given up on living life until a series of supernatural events occur which help him/her to realize that life is worth living. All is resolved.
However, I figured I’d give some Christmas books a try. So this week I chose three to read from the library: The Christmas Cookie Club by Ann Perlman, The Perfect Christmas by Debbie Macomber, and A Dog Named Christmas by Greg Kincaid. I tried to pick books that would not follow my above formulas! I’m just finishing the Cookie Club book, so that full review will follow soon.
I first read A Dog Named Christmas. Now I have to admit: I love dogs. The cover alone grabbed me: a sweet black lab sitting in the snow in front of a farmhouse. This story centers on a family with a special needs son who take a dog home as part of a Christmas week foster program. I figured they would love the dog and want to keep him. I did worry that the dog would die or the son would die or they both would die (NOT what I wanted to read). However, this story was a nice read. At points it moved slowly – I believe this may be the author’s first work – but I was able to read the whole thing in a few hours. And SPOILER ALERT – the dog does not die, so you’re safe there if that is an issue for you (as it is for me!).
Then I read A Perfect Christmas. Now first let me say that I love, love, love Debbie Macomber. Her Promise, Texas books are my favorites from her, along with the Blossom Street books. She’s considered a romance writer, however, I don’t find her books about romance as much as about human relationships. I thought this book looked interesting: it’s about a young professional woman, Cassie, who goes to a professional matchmaker – to the tune of $30,000 – in order to meet her perfect match. She’s feeling pressured that so many of her friends at her age are already married with children, etc. I’m sure many of us can relate?! However, I really didn’t like this book. In fact, I pretty much hated it, which kills me since I love Debbie as a writer so very much! I found the characters in this book SO driven to find a mate that all the rest of their life was paling by comparison. The main character had a wonderful nuclear family, good friends, a great education and job and apartment, and yet it was all deemed rather worthless since she didn’t have a boyfriend/husband. That really bothered me. (Don’t get me wrong — I love my husband and children more than anything, but before I had them I certainly didn’t feel like my life was worthless or I was a failure since I was single!). What a message this book sends! Additionally, I felt the character of the matchmaker was pretty much a caricature. He was the typical analyst who cannot analyze himself – the one who seeks mates for others since he feels there is no mate for him. Bleh! I really disliked his pedantic character and couldn’t imagine SPOILER ALERT why Cassie fell for him. Anyhow, this book was a real disappointment. I’d love to hear from other Debbie Macomber fans if they’ve read it.
Lastly, I am reading The Christmas Cookie Club. This story is about a group of women friends who do a cookie exchange yearly. Different chapters are told about different women in the club. So far, I am liking it! It’s well written, I have to say, and I saw that the author was a nominee for the Pulitzer Prize for a previous work. I have to say the first sentence totally threw me and turned me off, but I kept reading (I don’t usually give up after the first sentence!) and am glad I did!
Okay – there are three books for you to consider this year. I’ll write and update on Cookie Club when I finish it.