The Christmas Sweater by Glenn Beck
Despite his single mother’s financial hardships, 12-year-old Eddie is certain this Christmas he will receive his much-desired Huffy bike. To his dismay, what he finds under the tree is “a stupid, handmade, ugly sweater” that his mother carefully modeled after those she can’t afford at Sears (one of four places she keeps part-time jobs). Eddie tosses the sweater and insults his mother before the two go visit his grandparents at their farmhouse. On the drive home, though, Eddie’s exhausted mother falls asleep at the wheel and crashes, dying instantly. Sent to live with his grandparents, an increasingly bitter and angry Eddie lashes out at his accommodating guardians, trying to make sense of a world he is not sure he wants to be a part of.
This was our Bookies Book Club read for December.
Honesty check. I find it hard to review Christmas themed books. For the most part, the ones I have read seem to have a pleasant hum to them but really no sparks to fuel the fire of a good discussion. As I tried to develop good discussion questions for our book review, I fell short. The characters were minimal and surface developed, the plot was really non-existent, and the ending was, well…. as expected.
It’s not that I did not enjoy this book…. I did. It was a wonderful read for Christmas, but to me it was more a book you read, you enjoy, and you move on. How can I say this….
it didn’t hold a lot to be discussion worthy.
Overall, as a group we gave this book an average rating. It has a wonderful message in it and the fact that it is a true story mixed in with a dab of fiction here and there still made it an enjoyable read. After all, isn’t that what makes Historical Fiction such an awesome genre? I sure think so!
There is an opportunity in this book to ask a couple hard questions…. I could have asked if we could share a time when we had done something that we wished with all our might we could take back, however – when it came down to it, I just did not want to open up that emotional discussion at our Christmas review. Instead, I opted for a better version….. we discussed gifts that were just …. awkward, and how we handled receiving that gift.
Here are some of the fun responses:
- Was given a pair of extremely ugly gray boots for Christmas by husband that had fake gray fur around the top, a pointy toe and a large plastic gray heal. Wore them once to husbands grandmother’s house and never wore again.
- Husband’s parents give gifts they pick up at garage sales…. sometimes they are ok, sometimes broken. Have learned to just smile and move on…
- Husband purchased a Salad Shooter at a thrift store. When book club member opened it on Christmas it had chunks of dried up lettuce and salad dressing stuck inside it. Husband cleaned up Salad Shooter and all was well.
- Mother would purchase the long boxes of individually wrapped soaps and separate them… giving one soap to each child.
- One Bookie said her aunt received a gun for Christmas from her husband. She responded by the next year giving him a microwave. From now on, the hubby gives her gift cards to her favorite stores.
- Given an electric razor for Christmas by her parents when she was old enough to shave. Her brothers laughed and picked at her so much she never used it.
- One Bookie wanted a stereo really bad for Christmas. Come Christmas day, her sister opens up a huge stereo! Book club member received a clock radio.
Ok… we laughed at our stories, they are fun memories!
Anyone have any gift giving gone wrong stories?