Tuesday, December 07, 2010

The Christmas Box by Richard Paul Evans

The Christmas Box by Richard Paul Evans is a sentimental novella meant to be poignant more than provocative.  A young couple move into an older woman’s large home with their three year old daughter.  There, the father learns a lesson in love and the importance of priorities.  The narrator’s tone is dispassionate and occasionally comes off as slightly pretentious and, at times, the author breaks the narrative integrity by inserting scenes and exposition that the narrator of a first-person speaker simply could not know.  I guess it was more imperative in Evans’ mind to present these things in spite of their disingenuous presence within the text.

This is the first novel by a writer who has since been published several times.  I can see why.  I didn’t loathe this novel.  I didn’t love it either.  I didn’t tear up or even offer a sigh as the story unfolded. I would have hoped to get a bit sentimental but I suppose I didn’t think the characters were sympathetic enough for me to offer them a single tear.

But for all I know, this may be as good as it gets when it comes to Christmas novels.  I don’t know.  I’ll know soon enough.  I have borrowed a few others from the library, to see what, if anything, I’ve been missing out on.  It’s probably an exercise in futility, hoping to find a Christmas novel (or novella) I love, but I really hope I do.  I love Christmas.  I love reading.  I’d like to believe I can find a new textual treasure to share with those I love.  I'd like to believe but, thanks to the Christmas books I've read lately, I'm beginning to lose hope.  Stick around!  There may be a surprise on the horizon.

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