Saturday, December 26, 2009

"The Christmas List" Don't Put it on Yours

BookLook December 23
“The Christmas List”

Richard Paul Evans has discovered something very important. There is a recipe for Christmas books. You may think that the recipe you have for your granny’s sugar cookies is priceless, but if you had the recipe for best selling Christmas books you would really have something valuable. Evan’s first sugary treat was delicious. “The Christmas Box” was something new with an inspirational message for all readers. We ate it up. Unfortunately, “The Christmas List” tastes a little too similar to his other books and we were hoping for something more.

The main character of this little book, and it is a little book with lots of blank space on the pages, is based on Scrooge. Dickens introduced us to the idea that a pathetic miser could be redeemed and we love his story. In this updated version, James Kier reads his own obituary in the newspaper and is naturally alarmed. I had a similar experience a couple of years ago when my BookLook column was placed on the obit page. With the book title “Left to Tell” and my picture the same size as the gentleman’s obituary printed right next to me, it was a bit unsettling.

Now, back to the story. Kier tries to make amends for a life focused on money but discovers that every damaged relationship cannot be mended. Some mistakes can be fixed, but some come with unalterable consequences. It is a sad but true lesson. Fortunately, having lots of money seems to help make things up to people though. Buying someone a house, giving a big pay raise to an employee, or paying for something your son wants will get you some forgiveness. Is this part of the lesson Evans wants us to learn? I think his message of “good will toward men” is a good one and we do need reminders about what is important.

We can read “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens every year and enjoy the experience. “The Christmas List” is a once read then re-gifted book. I know there are many fans of Richard Paul Evans (the Utah author with three names) so I can make someone very happy if I put it in a basket with a batch of granny’s delicious sugar cookies to sweeten the read.

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