Adriane Devries's Reviews > Holidays on Ice

Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris
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Mar 02, 2012

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bookshelves: biography, comedy

Holidays on Ice, a euphemism perhaps for the massive amounts of alcohol needed by many to endure extended December visits with in-laws, is a collection of hilarious short stories both autobiographical and highly inventive that stray from the trite TV Christmas movies and novellas usually being foisted upon us. In it, you will glean such valuable knowledge as how to get and keep a job as a mall elf, along with how to stop brawls between mothers on Christmas Eve; how to use your annual Christmas letter to the max, garnering as many character witnesses as possible for your murder trial; how to turn your consumptive greed into the giving of your body parts to charity, quite literally giving till it hurts; and you will also discover that if you had only been born in the Netherlands, you would go to bed on Christmas eve packed and ready to go should Santa decide you should be beaten and kidnapped by his tall, skinny, Pope hat wearing self and his 6 to 8 black men. You will read a heart-squishing Christmas do-it-yourself kidney transplant miracle, as well as a cautionary tale warning of the dangers of death by bumblebee, Dumpster, sleeping near a train track, or masterbation.
My favorite story, though, is “Jesus Shaves,” in which a college French class consisting of several nationalities tries to explain Easter to a curious Moroccan student:
'"Our teacher then called on the rest of us to explain.
The Poles led the charge to the best of their ability. "It is," said one, “a party for the little boy of God who call his self Jesus and…” She faltered and her fellow countryman came to her aid.
“He call his self Jesus and then he die one day on two…morsels of…lumber.”
The rest of the class jumped in, offering bits of information that would have given the pope an aneurysm.
“He die one day and then he go above of my head to live with your father.”
“He weared of himself the long haii and after he die, the first day he come back here for to say hello to the peoples.”
“He nice, the Jesus.”
“He make good things, and on the Easter we be sad because somebody makes him dead today.”'
The narrator of the story, whether it be the author’s own opinion or not, concludes that perhaps it is possible that an all-knowing God really did create us and watch over us, that maybe it all happened – the miracles, the Virgin Birth, The Resurrection -- just as the Bible story says. But a bell that brings chocolate from Rome to the children of France on Easter morning? “That’s fucked up.”

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