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A Christmas Memory

4.24 of 5 stars 4.24  ·  rating details  ·  5,786 ratings  ·  483 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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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Mike
Nov 23, 2014 Mike rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
Recommended to Mike 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
...more
Laura
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".
Chris
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
Meghan
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
Susan
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.
Ananthu
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.
Steve Lindahl
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
...more
Lisa N
“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
...more
Heather
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
Elizabeth
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
Melinda
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
...more
leslye
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.
Joan
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
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
...more
Leslie
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.
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
I read this every Christmas. Can't help but love this little tale. Ages 10 up.
Jay
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
...more
Adel Zeller
This was a beautiful, bittersweet story. Very enjoyable, in that reminiscing, whimsical way that cherished stories have, and told in the very eclectic style of Truman Capote, no less. The ending made my eyes tear up, which hasn't happened from reading a book in a long time.

I'm not quite sure what age group this book would be most appropriate for. Is it a childrens book? It is categorized as a childrens book, but I would not recommend it for too young children, or for youth to try to read and nav
...more
Judith
This is a very short Christmas read that is packed with wonderful Capote descriptions of days long past. He certainly captures his relationship with his Friend, an elderly cousin who "is much like a child". Together they look forward to their simple, but pleasurable rendition of Christmas in a home surrounded by adults "who often make them cry".

From the making of fruitcakes as gifts for strangers and the adventure of finding and decorating the perfect Christmas tree, it is a story that makes us
...more
Kathryn
This was such a sweet, sweet story. I had to wait for it from the library hence why I read it in January. I've got the movie version waiting for me to see next. The book was written in 1956, the movie in 1997 starring Patty Duke, Piper Laurie and Eric Lloyd as Buddy. The About the Author written in the back of the book says it all:

"Until he was ten years old, Truman Capote lived with a family of distant and elderly cousins in a small town in rural Alabaman. A Christmas Memory is a frankly autobi
...more
Gail
I appreciate this story more as I grow older. Friendship across generations is very special. This short story illustrates the friendship between 7 year old buddy and his 60 something cousin and their fruitcake and kite flying adventures.
Jan
I loved the writing and I adored the old televison Christmas special with Geraldine Page in A Christmas Memory, but these three stories are basically depressing. There are bittersweet moments, but Capote's childhood was hard and sad.
Jo Ann
Oh, my! Do you ever wonder how many books you read that never get on your Goodreads List for one reason or another? (In my case, it's usually Brain Overload.)I noticed several friends had read A Christmas Memory, which I love, and wondered if I'd rated it the "5" I think of it as...sure enough, it wasn't on my list, and I've read it every Christmas for years! I love the relationship between Buddy and Sook, and their lovely ventures to produce and gift their amazing fruitcakes! The unconditional ...more
Danna
Tears of such heartbreaking joy and longing and nostalgia! Every child needs to feel loved and appreciated by an adult who relates to them as a whole person. Unfortunately, adults are often prone to patronization when speaking with children and the elderly, or prone to ignoring them entirely, so it comes as no surprise that children and elders often get along so well. My own dear Maw and Paw saved me when I was growing up, and I saw myself and Maw so clearly in this story. My husband also had th ...more
Megan
This is a charming Christmas story written by an "American Great Name," Truman Capote. Semi-autobiographical, this particular edition is also beautifully illustrated by Beth Peck. Very much in the vein of Dylan Thomas' A Child's Christmas in Wales, Capote recalls a last childhood Christmas spent with his friend, an elderly cousin who lived with him and other distant relatives. The cousins, though generations apart in age, have very much the same childlike mindset, and this story demonstrates tha ...more
Jana
Tonight I just read my new favorite Christmas story. I finished it with tears and the motivation to buy a copy for at least four family members this Christmas. It is beautifully written and illustrated. Also, my edition has a CD version of the story which I plan on listening to tonight.

How did I not know of this book before? I am SO happy that I saw a review of it here on Goodreads.
Stephanie
This was my first foray into Truman Capote, so although it is a short story, I read it slowly to fully absorb his style. The setting provides biographical insight into Capote's childhood and how he acquired his accent. An intergenerational relationship and extended kin are recollected in this country tale that left me with even more curiosity about our iconic American writer.
Connie
What a precious book! Truman Capote tells of his early growing-up years living with elderly relatives in Alabama. He and his very aged cousin survive in this hostile environment as best friends, who celebrate adventure after adventure in their preparations for Christmas. The pen and watercolor illustrations make the characters even more alive and endearing.
Kristine
This little story is of a little boy and his older cousin who live together because neither have anyone else. Their existence is simple, they are poor and the setting is rural Alabama. The highlight of the year seems to be Christmastime, when they gather up all the money they have to buy the supplies they need to make fruitcakes for all the people they know.
Doris
This story is very well written with incredible descriptive language. It is also very sad. It is about a great, true friendship and the happiest of some very sad memories, though it is not written, I think, with the intent of getting pity. I enjoyed the read and also thoroughly enjoyed the illustrations in my copy by Beth Peck.
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The Gordon-Nash E...: Have you read this book? 3 10 Feb 28, 2014 01:22PM  
Books you reread each December 6 16 Mar 31, 2013 11:29AM  
Capote's Memory 1 19 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
More about Truman Capote...
In Cold Blood Breakfast at Tiffany's Other Voices, Other Rooms Music for Chameleons The Grass Harp, Including A Tree of Night and Other Stories

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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.” 52 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.” 15 likes
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