Sunday, March 6, 2011

Book Review - Christmas, Present by Jacquelyn Mitchard

Title: Christmas, Present
Author: Jacquelyn Mitchard 
Year: 2003
Page: 114
Genre: Fiction - Family

FTC Disclosure: Borrowed from the library

Summary (from
A fourteenth wedding anniversary is nothing to sneeze at, Elliott Banner knows, but it's not exactly a landmark year—like fifteen, or twenty, when he plans to take his wife, Laura, to Paris. But when a headache on the drive home from their anniversary date—two days before Christmas—turns out to be more than a migraine, he wishes he had celebrated every year as though it were their last.

In this poignant, touching, uplifting story, a woman calmly gathers her family around her during the Christmas holiday to celebrate their lives together—both past and future—and to truly count their blessings.

A family history unfolds in a single night in this deeply affecting story that speaks volumes about love, trust, and letting go—a perfect holiday read that underscores the true meaning of the season.

First Sentence:
For weeks, he'd pestered himself over the fact that he couldn't remember whether this anniversary was the fourteenth or fifteenth.

My Thoughts:

Why this book?
  • I was reading about book recommendations on a forum - a thread on "what is the saddest book you have read". Someone suggested this book. I tend to prefer sad to happy books, so added this to my TBR list.
First thought:
  • Even though this is a VERY SMALL book (114 pages, and about half the size of a normal hardcover book - even though it IS a hard cover book), I still wanted my 2 hours back after I finish it!
Cover Art:
  • Quite pretty, for a Christmas story
  • Clever! 
  • Urgh. It was a fast read, I'd give it that, and because it's such a small book I decided to finish it to find out if it got better... it probably did not take me 2 hours to read (I read it in 2 settings in the same night, but I didn't time it)
  • It is supposed to be a sad book - it's about a dying mother for crying out loud. Instead of feeling sad, I felt irritated instead - the pace of the story was rushed, and there really wasn't much of a plot, and for the things that happened, it seemed unrealistic. Here I was prepared to feel all emotional about the story, I ended up questioning whether I have some personality problems instead because I couldn't stand the book. Don't tell me to feel sad because it is a sad story, make me feel sad instead!
  • None of them memorable really... there were kids in the story, and when you couldn't even stand the kids in a sad situation... I think there's a problem.
  • There were no character development - even for someone who usually don't like character-driven novels! Their dialogue seemed very forced
  • Predictable. 
  • Didn't stir up the right emotion!
What I Learned:
  • Just because others felt sad reading this book, didn't mean I would too (but that could be just me being picky)
  • I read that there were some 1-2 stars reviews of this books - but mostly because people thought this book was too depressing! And here I was, thinking it wasn't depressing enough - don't get me wrong, the premise IS depressing, but the author just didn't deliver. (and this is from someone who cry while reading and watching movies, so I am not as coldhearted as you might think I am...)
Read this Author again?
  • No, sorry

Children are never afraid, you know,. It's their parents who instill the fear. (p128)

Overall Rating:
0.5 Stars. Wasted my time (note, 0 stars are reserved for books I couldn't finish for one reason or another...)

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