Thursday, 20 December 2012

Books: Skipping Christmas by John Grisham

Skipping Christmas:  An easy and enjoyable read.

Skipping Christmas by John Grisham
Given that this is technically a blog devoted to featuring underrated books, movies, albums, etc, which some potential fans may have overlooked, it probably seems a bit out of place to be covering a book by that little known undiscovered author by the name of John Grisham.

However, although Skipping Christmas is written by multi-million selling John Grisham, it’s nevertheless not the first book that springs to mind when you mention his name and is arguably far less famous than some of his more well-known books such as The Pelican Brief, A Time To Kill or The Runaway Jury.  And secondly, as it’s only a few days until Christmas, it therefore seemed appropriate to include a suitably Christmas themed review. 

I generally prefer Grisham’s legal stuff and more action orientated plots, so for a long time a seemingly throwaway story about Christmas didn’t really hold much appeal.  Many other John Grisham fans may also have overlooked it, and that’s a shame because although Skipping Christmas is not really in the same typical style as some of Grisham’s more usual novels, it’s nonetheless a lovely book. 

Perhaps what eventually brought this book to my attention was the fact that I actually ‘skip Christmas’ myself most years as I generally tend to go away travelling every winter for a few months.  I could therefore totally relate to the Kranks' desire to get away from all the stress and the hassle of Christmas and the unwanted obligations and the fretting over getting a last minute card for Mrs Bloggs along the road because you didn’t expect her to get you a card but now she has so you’ll have to get her one in return as you don’t want her to think bad of you.

However, despite the fact that I can personally happily skip a lot of the ingredients of Christmas, I still found myself thoroughly appreciating the heart-warming sections of this story which remind you of the sometimes forgotten aspects of Christmas such as about being a good friend and person, rather than worrying in case you’ve overlooked someone on your Christmas card list who might then go on to bad mouth you.

Kobo (UK)It sounds potentially cheesy and an especially hard-hearted reader may not perhaps buy into this story, but I’m not a particularly Christmas obsessed person myself and yet I still totally loved this book.  I would likewise guess that most people with even the slightest appreciation of Christmas will find Skipping Christmas an enjoyably satisfying read.

As already mentioned it’s not a particularly typical John Grisham book and one other way in which Skipping Christmas differed somewhat from my usual expectation of a John Grisham book was the sense of humour present in some of the scenes.  Although John Grisham isn’t renowned for his use of comedy, he shows with Skipping Christmas that he is very capable of capturing some amusing moments when the story allows it and he seems able to perfectly judge when a scene will benefit from such an injection of humour.

There was only one moment in the book which had me worried and that was fairly late on when Luther and Nora Krank’s plans to skip Christmas seem to be falling apart and for a nervous few pages I thought I was going to end up unsatisfied with the conclusion.  I realise a book where everything goes exactly to plan would be pretty uneventful but I was still initially a little concerned with the direction things were taking.  However, I should have had more faith in John Grisham’s writing ability because he ultimately produced a very satisfying finale which shows that even nosey busy-body neighbours can have a good side to them, and that even when people have different ideas about how to celebrate, they can nevertheless still be brought together with the spirit of neighbourly friendship.

Overall, Skipping Christmas is an easy and enjoyable read, and is the perfect choice of book for the holiday season.

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