Thursday, 4 November 2004

Book Review: Skipping Christmas (Grisham)

Before I start this review, just a friendly warning to a friend squealed like a girl and claimed that he would get infected with some kind of incurable disease if he touched this book (You know who you are, V. Hehe) :

This is a GRISHAM book. Your so-called 'pulp fiction', too 'shallow' and 'commercialised' for people looking for 'deeper' reads. You don't like it: fine, but let's try to be objective with the comments, ok? :-D

On with the mini-review:

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Title: Skipping Christmas

Author: John Grisham

Pages: 240

Available at: It's Grisham. You can get his books ANYWHERE, from Kino to MPH, airports, and even certain mamak newspaper stands.

Synopsis:
Imagine a year without Christmas. No crowded malls, no corny office parties, no fruitcakes, no unwanted presents. That's just what Luther and Nora Krank have in mind when they decide that, just this once, they'll skip the holiday altogether. Theirs will be the only house on Hemlock Street without a rooftop Frosty; they won't be hosting their annual Christmas Eve bash; they aren't even going to have a tree. They won't need one, because come December 25 they're setting sail on a Caribbean cruise. But, as this weary couple is about to discover, skipping Christmas brings enormous consequences - and isn't half as easy as they'd imagined.

A classic tale for modern times, Skipping Christmas offers a hilarious look at the chaos and frenzy that have become part of our holiday tradition.

Main Characters:
  • Luther Krank - A tax accountant who decides that the total cost of the previous Christmas was way too much, and decides to save the money THIS year to go for a cruise instead, thereby 'Skipping Christmas'
  • Nora Krank - Luther's wife, of course.

What I liked:

  • Good pace, no boring moments
  • Short and sweet (I finished it in less than a day)
  • Something different from Grisham (besides his courtroom dramas)

What I Didn't Like:

  • The cover of my copy was the movie poster for 'Christmas with the Kranks', and spoiled the book for me somewhat, because I kept imagining Tim Allen's face on Luther (I'm not a big fan of Tim Allen).
  • A rather predictable plot (but then again, it's Grisham; and after all, how unpredictable can a Christmas tale get?)
  • Rather irritating characters (One can just imagine how the role of Luther just fits Tim Allen like a glove)
  • Asians who don't celebrate Christmas as fervently as Westerners do might feel somewhat detached from the chaos depicted in the book (unless you relate it to your Hari Raya or CNY balik kampung experiences)

In a nutshell:

It's Grisham, fair enough, and one does not expect heavy-handed philosophical jabbering from this guy. His lawyer-books are decent airport reads (even if they are 'fluff'), and The Chamber was about as heavy handed as he got, which isn't much.

In case you were wondering why I showed TWO different covers of the book above, it's because my copy has the cover on the LEFT, and the one I would have preferred is the one on the RIGHT. Like I said, having Tim Allen and Jamie Lee-Curtis on the cover spoiled the book somewhat for me, because since the characters suit the actors so well, it was hard not to imagine how the scenes would look in the movie. Sigh...

Anyway, the book IS decent enough for reading in waiting rooms, in airports, or in LRT. Just don't expect anything more than a VERY light romp in Grisham-land, and you'll do fine.

Reviewer: Eyeris


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