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A Christmas Memory

4.23  ·  Rating Details  ·  7,373 Ratings  ·  608 Reviews
First published in 1956, this much sought-after autobiographical recollection of Truman Capote's rural Alabama boyhood has become a modern-day classic. We are proud to be reprinting this warm and delicately illustrated edition of A Christmas Memory--"a tiny gem of a holiday story" (School Library Journal, starred review). Seven-year-old Buddy inaugurates the Christmas seas ...more
Audio CD, Hardcover & CD, 48 pages
Published October 10th 2006 by Knopf Books for Young Readers (first published 1956)
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A Christmas Carol by Charles DickensHow the Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. SeussThe Night Before Christmas by Clement C. MooreThe Polar Express by Chris Van AllsburgThe Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson
Favorite Christmas Books
22nd out of 795 books — 1,106 voters
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Best Southern Literature
85th out of 887 books — 2,242 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Nov 23, 2014 Lawyer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
Recommended to Lawyer by: Mr. and Mrs. R.H. McConnell, beloved grandparents
Capote's Holiday Memoirs: The Whispers of Memory

Truman Capote's The Thanksgiving Visitor was chosen as a Moderator's Choice by Laura Webber, "The Tall Woman," as a read for the group On the Southern Literary Trail for November, 2014

These reflections have been written over the course of nearly three years. After my wife read these thoughts, she pointed out the importance of marking the time of thoughts in connection with the events of our lives.

December 24, 2011

Perhaps I should say this is not so
Dec 25, 2015 KOHEY.Y. rated it it was amazing
Actually I’ve read this little sparkling gem for five years in a row,and will have been reading until I have memorized the whole passages.Let me add this;this is one of Haruki Murakami’s favs,and his Japanese translation is great!Good stories easily leap beyond the barrier of languages.It’s an undeniable fact.
Dec 18, 2014 Laura rated it it was amazing
Well, finished tonight with my 10 year old. Note to self....last 2 pages don't sit well. Lots of tears shed by my daughter and I'm trying not to let my voice crack with emotion. Easy to get invested in Miss Sook and Buddy! Quote by daughter "so much love".
Dec 06, 2007 Chris rated it it was amazing
I can remember first hearing this story read to me when I was in 5th grade. The reader broke down crying, which even at a young age, struck me how emotionally powerful this story remains. It's my favorite Christmas tradition - every Christmas Eve, when I finally retire, I take my worn copy of Capote's A Christmas Memory, snuggle into bed, and transport to a different time. I have an old video of A Christmas Memory narrated by Capote, so I continue to hear his distinct high-pitched voice speak th ...more
Jan 06, 2012 Meghan rated it it was amazing
When I was in my junior year of high school, my English teacher Mrs. O'Brien brought this book in one day. She sat on the edge of her desk, and she held up a well worn copy of it, and told us that each year before Thanksgiving she reads the entire book (there are three novellas included). Then she proceeded to read to us. We were mesmerized. She read that entire period, and we all had tears in our eyes as she read "A Christmas Memory". The next day, we filed in, she sat on her desk, and she read ...more
In spite of their poverty, seven-year-old Buddy and his eccentric elderly cousin celebrate the small pleasures of life - gathering ingredients for the annual fruitcake baking, tramping through the woods in search of the perfect tree, and exchanging hand-made gifts on Christmas Day. Delightful watercolour illustrations by Beth Peck bring the story to life before the reader's eyes.
Dec 24, 2015 Ananthu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Warm, humorous, and with a soupcon of melancholy. Capote's prose is delectable and filigreed, and speaks volumes than what's overt on the page. A morning well-spent.
Ned Mozier
Dec 25, 2015 Ned Mozier rated it really liked it
A lovely little memory, made my cry at the end for all the lost loves and memories before life takes us all beyond childhood into cold, regimented adulthood. As an autobiography, this is "frankly" true by Capote long before he was taken up into the modern New York vortex. Very sweet, authentic and a perfect read for the holiday season.
Steve Lindahl
Dec 31, 2011 Steve Lindahl rated it it was amazing
Truman Capote's A Christmas Memory is a short, beautifully written story by one of my favorite authors. It's about the relationship between a woman in the latter years of her life and a boy just starting out. It is, according to the book jacket notes, “based on Capote's own boyhood in rural Alabama in the 1930's.” The edition I read was illustrated by Beth Peck. The pictures are as wonderful as the text.

Here is how Capote introduces the relationship between the woman and the boy:

I am seven; she
Lisa N
Jan 05, 2012 Lisa N rated it it was amazing
“Oh my…it’s fruitcake weather!” begins this story in a homey little kitchen in rural Alabama. Seven-year-old Buddy and his dotty, 60-something cousin begin their Christmas fruitcake-baking ritual foraging for windfall pecans in a nearby grove.

Based on memories from Truman Capote’s childhood where he lived with a family of distant, elderly cousins. This story has Deep South written all over it, from the blackberry jelly, to the fig branches, the moonshine whiskey, the flies in August, and the re
Oct 31, 2009 Melinda rated it did not like it
I am always looking for books to read in the upcoming Christmas season. I saw this book in a catalog, and thought I would read it first from the library. I'm glad I saved my money and did not buy it.

While beautifully written it is a terribly sad and tragic book, not one that I would want to bring out from year to year and read over again. Perhaps a better title would have been "A Christmas memory -- some sweet but alot bitter and unhappy". It is largely autobiographical, which explains much as
Dec 10, 2007 Elizabeth rated it really liked it
Nice short read over the Christmas season. A great part comes toward the end when the main character is flying kites with his elderly friend. The friend says, "My, how foolish I am! You know what I've always thought? I've always thought a body would have to be sick and dying before they saw the Lord. And I imagined that when He came it would be like looking at the Baptist window: pretty as colored glass with the sun pouring through, such a shine you don't know it's getting dark. And it's been a ...more
Dec 23, 2008 Susan rated it it was amazing
I first heard A Christmas Memory on the radio sometime in the 1970's, read by Truman Capote. I was caught and held at once by the eerie quality of his voice, and as I listened to his words, it seemed to me that his voice was the only possible medium through which this southern-gothic Christmas tale could be properly rendered. His voice, the story: all of a piece; yet the written form allows me a langorous repetition of some of his most beautiful sentences. Nothing quite like it.
Dec 11, 2009 Heather rated it really liked it
This is a sensitive and intricate rendering of a life memory--a story Capote has carried with him throughout his whole life. A memoir, the book recounts Capote's memories of one special holiday Christmas, spent with his elderly cousin whom he lived with "as long as I can remember." The young Capote refers to his cousin as "my friend", and she, in turn, calls him "Buddy". Their relationship is whole enduring; it transcends vast differences of age and circumstance. The young Truman had a future ah ...more
Jul 24, 2015 Radwa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My favorite of the Truman Capote short stories I've read, as it talks about Buddy Reminiscing old Christmas times with a special old and fun friend. It's interesting because for most of the story we see a friendship between a 7 years old and a 60 years old, and the interaction between them.
Jane Greensmith
Dec 19, 2015 Jane Greensmith rated it it was amazing
What a gorgeous, moving Christmas memoir; I loved this and plan to read it every year.
Dec 30, 2015 Jojo rated it it was amazing
Shelves: e-book
Esta é a minha estreia com Capote e fiquei fascinada com a sua escrita! De uma beleza extraordinária, estas poucas páginas fazem-nos rir e chorar com facilidade e acreditar no espírito de Natal que, o que é mais importante é a família.
Jun 25, 2016 leslye rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christmas
Based on Truman Capote's childhood memories, this tale recounts the Christmas traditions which he shared with an elderly cousin in a home short on money but not lacking in warmth, humor or love.

Quite pleasant Christmas story with some beautiful thoughts and a sweet relationship.
Feb 05, 2008 Joan rated it it was amazing
This is one of my favorite Holiday books. There was a TV version of it done in 1966 with Geraldine Paige which was excellent. A newer version was done in 1997 with Patty Duke which doesn't even compare. If you ever get a chance to see the first version , it is excellent.
Linda Lipko
Mar 23, 2016 Linda Lipko rated it it was amazing
Caught up in the fact that I do not like the personality of what was Truman Capote. Dying from alcoholism, with few friends because he threw them away with his cutting, acerbic, back-biting nastiness, in his insecurity, claiming he helped Harper Lee pen her award-winning novel, while in fact she helped him write his masterpiece In Cold Blood, I allowed this to cloud my opinion of his writing.

Then, I read this incredible book and it confirmed what a talented, gifted writer he was.

His childhood wa
Isa Lot
Dec 28, 2015 Isa Lot rated it really liked it
Un relato precioso donde Truman Capote nos relata el recuerdo de una navidad de su infancia. Hijo de una familia desestructurada y criado por una devota tia lisiada, el pequeño está lleno de ilusión, pero solo es un niño de pueblo muy pobre que crece durante los años de la depresion. Durante esta navidad descubrirá muchas cosas, que es mentira y que realidad y sobre el mundo de los adultos.
Victor Morosoff
Dec 31, 2015 Victor Morosoff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
O scriitura mult mai studiata si aplicata fata de romanul sau de debut. Capote da nastere, prin nuvelele sale, unor povesti de viata irezistibile. 4/5
Dec 12, 2007 Leslie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I read this short story every year before Christmas, and every year, without fail, I cry. It's the story of a young boy and his aged relative and their annual adventure into the making of fruitcakes. For whom? For "people who've struck our fancy."

But it's more than a story about making fruitcake, it's a story about a boy who needs a caring relative in the midst of a whole lot of uncaring ones, and about their relationship as outcasts in that family.
May 31, 2013 Sheila rated it really liked it
Beautiful, lyrical, and emotional. This short story both made me smile, and made me sad. I could smell the tree, I could taste the fruitcake, I could feel the magic of Christmas as seen through the eyes of a 7 year old boy and his 60-something cousin. Well done, Truman.
Aug 04, 2013 Shanu rated it did not like it
I have never been sensible to anything christmas related so now i wonder why i even picked out this story.

Also i think i'm not receptive to Capote's style. Well, his writing style is fabulous but i never seem to understand what he's trying to say except the obvious itself.
Tina Hayes
This story is a sweet recollection of a man's best Christmas memories: of him as a 7-year-old living with his 63-year-old cousin/best friend. They didn't have much money, but were so rich with love and happiness. Capote's descriptions were nearly magical, making the reader feel the warm from the old black stove that glowed like a Halloween pumpkin, and conjure up the smell of spices that went into the fruitcake.

The ending is VERY bittersweet, but serves the purpose of making the reader realize t
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Mar 16, 2016 Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christmas
I read this every Christmas. Can't help but love this little tale. Ages 10 up.
Book Concierge
5***** and a
This autobiographical novella is a wonderful, touching story of family love. Capote is at the peak of his writing ability here. Our hearts embrace Buddy and Sookie. The date listed is when our book club discussed it, but I've had this book for ages and I read it every December on my birthday.

Update: December 2010
This autobiographical story is based on Capote’s own childhood, living with relatives in Alabama. It’s a memory of the innocence of childhood and the anticipation of somethi
Nov 26, 2010 Jay rated it it was amazing
A Christmas Memory
by Truman Capote

Book Review by Jay Gilbertson

Initially I was all set to review Olive Kitteridge but then I realized, this is the Christmas season and what book is more fitting than A Christmas Memory?

This wonderfully written short story (we’re talking an afternoon read here) is one that no one should pass by. Not only have I read this many times, I’ve discovered that the story doesn’t get old, it simply becomes more familiar; more distinctive in the way it seems to pull your
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TSU Book Group: December Book: Truman Capote: A Christmas Memory 1 1 Nov 09, 2015 08:02AM  
The Gordon-Nash E...: Have you read this book? 3 10 Feb 28, 2014 01:22PM  
Books you reread each December 6 20 Mar 31, 2013 11:29AM  
Capote's Memory 1 20 Dec 13, 2007 05:55AM  
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Truman Capote was an American writer whose non-fiction, stories, novels and plays are recognised literary classics, including the novella Breakfast at Tiffany's (1958) and In Cold Blood (1965), which he labeled a "non-fiction novel." At least 20 films and TV dramas have been produced from Capote novels, stories and screenplays.

He was born as Truman Streckfus Persons to a salesman Archulus Persons
More about Truman Capote...

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“It's bad enough in life to do without something YOU want; but confound it, what gets my goat is not being able to give somebody something you want THEM to have.” 60 likes
“My, how foolish I am! You know what I've always thought? I've always thought a body would have to be sick and dying before they saw the Lord. And I imagined that when He came it would be like looking at the Baptist window: pretty as colored glass with the sun pouring through, such a shine you don't know it's getting dark. And it's been a comfort: to think of that shine taking away all the spooky feeling. But I'll wager it never happens. I'll wager at the very end a body realizes the Lord has already shown Himself. That things as they are, just what they've always seen, was seeing Him. As for me, I could leave the world with today in my eyes.” 21 likes
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