I have this deep love for Christmas. It's not even the whole presents thing (although that is a plus), but I just love the decorations, the food, the...moreI have this deep love for Christmas. It's not even the whole presents thing (although that is a plus), but I just love the decorations, the food, the Christmas tree, the music, the cheesy movies, the cozy New England winters (unless of course I have to actually step out of the house), just the whole ambience. However, I have yet to find an actual Christmas book that I actually love. Horace Helfin's Holiday Home was no exception, even though I did like it.
It took me about 60 pages to get into this book (a long while...). I liked it while I was reading it, but once I put it down, I didn't really want to pick it back up. I thought that maybe listening to my iPod while reading would make the book go by faster. It did. Then a Christmas song came up (I have about 50 Christmas songs that get heavy rotation all year round and about 150 others that go back into my iPod around late October). I then decided that if I listen to my all-year-round Christmas playlist, maybe I'd get into the book. Lo and behold, it worked! The little Christmas ambience I created for myself allowed me to enjoy the book way more than I previously was.
For the most part, I found Sally and Horace Helfin absolutely adorable. MILD SPOILER: The one part where they (along with the other neighborhood kids) give their toys away to the less fortunate kids really warmed my heart and made my eyes tear up a little (I'm a sap). Sure, I did roll my eyes a bit at how extreme the lesser than nice adults were portrayed (seriously, there was a crook and a crank on every corner), but I just kept reminding myself "It's a children's book. The adults have to be evil" (just ask Roald Dahl). However, the things that Horace and Sally did weren't all that nice either. I remember thinking more than once "Dude, these kids are kind of brats..." Of course, that was me looking at this book through my adult eyes and thoughts (seriously, when the heck did THAT happen?). I'm sure if I was a ten-year-old kid, I'd be tickled pink at what Horace and Sally were doing, but since I'm 21, not all of their antics were amusing.
Anyway, for the most part I did enjoy Horace Helfin's Holiday Home. It was a cute, cheesy, Christmas book for children (Heh. Say that five times fast. And we're back to the non-adult thoughts. Phew, that was close!) While I didn't love it, I am sort of looking forward to Horace Helfin's Horrifying Halloween (also try saying that five times fast). That book also seems cute.
Okay, so A Perfect Day is so not the type of book that I usually read. It's a bit on the sappy, romantic side and that just doesn't appeal to me half...moreOkay, so A Perfect Day is so not the type of book that I usually read. It's a bit on the sappy, romantic side and that just doesn't appeal to me half the time. However, I have an intense love for Christmas movies and unbeknownst to me at the time, the movie was based on the book (I seriously groaned out loud when I started the DVD and it said "Based on the novel by Richard Paul Evans" as I like to read the book THEN watch the movie). Since I loved the movie and thought it was a sweet, yet angsty and heartwarming Christmas movie (that starred Paget Brewster whom I sorta adore due to how hilarious she is, so that had a big part in why I chose to watch the movie), I decided to read the book. And surprisingly, I liked it.
The premise of A Perfect Day is fairly simple. Robert, a happily married family man gets fired from his job. So, he decides to go back to his dream of writing and tries to finish his first novel. His novel is based on his wife, Allyson's, relationship with her father and what she had to go through while he dealt with cancer. Rob's book becomes a huge, best-selling hit, the fame starts going to his head, and he starts being a douche. Really, there's no other way to put it. He then finds out that he only has a few months to live and has to try to make everything right between him and his wife. (And before some of you get upset and say that I ruined the whole book, trust me, this is all in the inside flap of the book. I try not to be douche and give away spoilers myself because I hate it when people do that in a review I'm reading.)
Since I did see the movie first, I already knew most of the surprises in the book and oddly enough the movie was very close to the book. But still, I enjoyed A Perfect Day. It gave more of an insight into the Rob and Allyson relationship than the movie did and you could see more of Allyson's side in the book as opposed to the movie where she starts to become the nagging wife a bit too quickly (still I liked her). Again, I'm not a romance fan at all, but I really did like their relationship and found myself "awwing" in a few of the parts. However, it didn't make me cry, but I'm usually one of those that cries when something is terribly sad in a book, not when something is terribly happy and heartwarming. So, all in all, A Perfect Day was a pretty sweet and heartwarming book and while the movie was a bit more Christmas than the book, the book can still be classified as a holiday read if you want it to be, but you can still read it at any time of the year if you hate reading Christmas books at non-Christmas times. Also, check out the movie as it was also really great (plus, Rob Lowe and Paget Brewster, yay!) and while I don't think I'll re-read A Perfect Day, I will re-watch the movie countless times throughout the Christmas season.(less)
Okay, I'm a Christmas freak. There really is no other way to put it. I just love everything about Christmas: the ambience, the decorations, the nice,...moreOkay, I'm a Christmas freak. There really is no other way to put it. I just love everything about Christmas: the ambience, the decorations, the nice, cold winters, the food, the music (that I start to listen to in September), the movies (that I tend to watch all year round), and so much more. Except for the Christmas books. For some reason, I have yet to find a Christmas book that I truly love (in the interest of full disclosure I will say that I have yet to read A Christmas Carol. I know...). Unfortunately, The Christmas Shoes was no exception.
I didn't mind the cliches, I didn't mind the heartwarming-ness that can sometimes make people want to gag, I didn't mind the sweetness. What I did mind was the fact that apparently I was supposed to feel something for these characters, yet I couldn't because they weren't at all developed. Every single character fell into their stereotypic roles. And sometimes I can deal with that. But in The Christmas Shoes I couldn't because there was just nothing other than the stereotypical characters there. I'm supposed to feel depressed, at first, because of all that sad things that were happening and then feel oh so happy when the resolution rolled around. Maybe I would have...if the characters weren't paper thin development wise. But since they were, I didn't feel anything for any of them and in turn, I didn't feel what I was supposed to be feeling while reading the book.
So, unfortunately, I found The Christmas Shoes to be a huge disappointment. I just didn't find anything reedemable about it. It was a quick page-turner, but mostly because the book is so short. It would have been better with a couple hundred more pages to flesh some of the characters out. I, however, will still check out the movie as it seems eons better than the book. (less)