Monday, February 24, 2014

Books: Skipping Christmas

Skipping Christmas
By John Grisham
292 pages
Copyright 2002
Audiobook

I don't know why I chose to listen to a book about Christmas with the holiday just behind me, but when I saw the title in the library I recalled that I had enjoyed another of Grisham's non-courtroom novels, so I picked it up.

This is a short book - five hours tops - and I knew from the beginning how it would end.

The Kranks say goodbye to their daughter, who leaves the US a month before Christmas to join the Peace Corps in Peru. Luther Krank, who is an accountant, goes home and adds up all they spend on the upcoming holiday. Holy cow, it's $6,100! All of that money for gift wraps, turkey, presents, parties, dresses, and other stuff, down the drain.

He convinces his wife Nora, sad about her daughter's leaving, that they should just skip Christmas this year. Instead they should take a cruise and pamper themselves a bit.

The story is more about the crass commercialism of the holiday than anything else, as well as a biting commentary on the pressure our family and friends place upon us to conform to the norms. Luther and Nora are now outcasts in a sea of friendly faces. No one can believe they will skip Christmas. The neighbors take great pleasure in trying to one-up themselves decorating simply because the Kranks are not. It becomes so bad that the Kranks have to sneak in and out of their own home. I felt sorry for them but not once did I think this overblown. It all felt very real - too real.

If this sounds familiar, it's because there was a movie, Christmas with the Kranks, made out of this story. I thought so but I'm not much of a movie watcher so I wasn't sure until I just looked it up. The movie stars Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis. I will have to try to watch it sometime.

3 comments:

  1. i loved this book and the movie is one of my favorites, so funny! tim allen and jamie lee are great together!

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  2. Maybe they should have given a like amount of money to their daughter to spend in the community for use by the Peace Corps. We met a few when living in Tonga, and they do amazing work while respecting local customs.

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  3. I read the book when it first came out and loved it, but have avoided the movie. I remember reading around the time of production that the author would not allow them the use of his title due to changes to the plot, and the movie received horrible reviews.

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