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?

Al and I: Ugly Sweater Party Dec. 2009 (I feel like an extra from Lion King)

About Sheila (Book Journey)

Bookaholic * Audio Book Fan *Bike Rider *Rollerblader *Adventure Seeker *Want To Be Runner*Coffee lover *Fitness Fan * Movie junkie

Posted on December 15, 2010, in Being Bookie, Book Review and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 25 Comments.

  1. For Hanukkah some years ago my mother-in-law gave my teenage stepson a children’s story book (appropriate for 5-6 year olds). Inside the book was an inscription. To another kid. My stepson was upset – and I can’t say that I blamed him.

  2. We have had a few books chosen by our book club that simply didn’t fuel discussion or debate, even though those books were enjoyable. We wouldn’t go anywhere near Beck’s book, though – even the Christmas one. Our member stand on very opposite corners of the political spectrum, the discussions would turn ugly.

    Anyhoo…awkward gift? You mean like the dishtowels my husband got me for Christmas along with the granny flannel nightgown? This was PRE KIDS!! We were still in our honeymoon phase of marriage! There should have been silky lingerie in that box! Still, even though he will never live down the dish towels, it was a memorable Christmas morning that always makes us laugh and smile when we look back on it.

    • Alison…. I knew nothing about Beck at all until our discussion. I had to ask people in the group what they knew about him. I dont watch a lot of tv so I really went into the book blind. :D

      Love the dish towel story! My hubby bought me pants in my regular size for Christmas after I had our first child nine days earlier. I could only get them on to my knees….. I actually cried. All these years later I joke with him about it. :D

  3. One year my dad gave my mom a washing machine for Christmas. True we needed one. True she was the only one who ever used it. True money was tight and it was two birds with one stone. But still!!!

  4. Ok…that salad shooter story is gross! Sounds like you ladies had a good time though. The Christmas books I have read have always been full of fluff also. This year we are reading one by Kristin Hannah and I’m hoping that this one will be a little more in-depth than past Christmas selections.

  5. Loved the gift gone wrong stories. I would be worried if my other half gave me a gun though. The salad shooter sound gross.

  6. My brother in law gave my sister bathroom scales one year – didn’t go down well at all!

    There are books that just don’t invite good discussion. I must admit when I started to read your review I did think hmmm, not sure this would work with my book group! Have a great Christmas.

  7. Yes, some books are like that, aren’t they? Love your Christmas photo!

  8. One year my parents got me records- when there were still vinyl when I was I teen and she picked out some really awful selections . She didn’t know my taste all , same with clothes . but I just smiled told her I loved them , then buried them deep in my closet lol.

  9. Those were fun stories to read and I love your ugly sweaters!!! I think it would be really hard to have a serious discussion on a holiday themed book too.

  10. Oh my goodness I love that picture from your sweater party – hysterical!

  11. My mother bought me a doll every Christmas, even though she knew all too well that I really didn’t like dolls and never played with them. We always figured she bought them for herself. :-D

  12. I don’t have a bad christmas story, I have been really lucky in that sense. However, I have a great Valentines one. The first year we were married my ex-husband bought me the sound track to Evita. Notice I said Ex-husband, lol.

  13. One of my favorite Christmas reads is Hercule Poirot’s Christmas by Agatha Christie. I’m a sucker for a good locked-room mystery and this one is perfect for a dark and snowy holiday evening.

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