Skipping Christmas by John Grisham
Reviewed by Gerti
My husband says you should never read a “New York Times” bestseller, because you’re bound to be disappointed. I’ve never followed that advice, and this book makes me thankful for it. I found John Grisham’s “Skipping Christmas” to be a flat out delight, even if I didn’t get to read it till after the tree was already on the curb.
Now I’m a huge Grisham fan, but usually he puts out legal thrillers that have me trying to decide whether the jury is rigged or a judge corrupt. That’s why this is such a delightful change. It has all the advantages of a Grisham novel – his ridiculously original characters and brandy-smooth writing – with a whipped cream heavy plot, so it doesn’t require more thinking than say, whether to use bubble bath or not before you engage in a soak.
The principals are Luther and Nora Krank, and since they are sending their daughter off to the third world for Christmas, they decide to forgo their usual holiday rituals (which accountant Luther finds are costing them a fortune) and take a holiday cruise instead. Oddly enough, that will be cheaper by half than buying all the fruitcakes, trees, invitations and custom-made holiday cards and throwing the huge party they usually throw. What is thrilling, however, is seeing how it all goes wrong, for just as they are getting ready to leave, their daughter calls and says “surprise!” she is coming home for Christmas after all, and bringing her doctor fiancé who would really love to see an American Christmas celebration.
Luther has made a ton of enemies with his anti-Christmas stance, and it is heart-warming how his neighborhood, which has turned against him for his resistance to taking part in their theme decorating that year, bands together to bring his Christmas miracle to pass. Grisham’s sense of humor sparkles, and his mastery of clever plot shines as brightly as the lit up “Frosty the Snowman” meant to be mounted next to the Krank’s chimney. He leaves no omission without it’s consequences, and it’s wonderful to watch how all the plot elements gets knit together by the end as tightly as that holiday sweater your grandmother sent you when you were 12.
I loved this book, and felt like a child on Christmas morning that I’ve discovered it at last. Thank you, John Grisham, for giving me and your faithful readers the ultimate gift, tied up in a pretty holiday bow. I’m ordered the movie they made from the book matches the level of wit and merriment of Grisham’s “Skipping Christmas,” but (spoiler alert!) it does not. Read the book for real holiday laughs!