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Fiction Review    



Skipping Christmas
by John Grisham
Doubleday, 2001
ISBN:  0-385-50583-3


When surrounded with mall shopping madness, expensive entertaining, and cooking more than you do the entire year, who wouldn’t consider “skipping Christmas”.  In John Grisham’s holiday novel, Luther and Nora Krank will be spending the holidays without their spirited daughter Blair, who has joined the Peace Corps in Peru.  The empty-nesters are sad about the prospect of a lonely Yuletide, and when tax accountant Luther digs into last year’s Christmas expenses – it gets down-right depressing.  What should he do? Why, save the Christmas money and escape on a Caribbean cruise – of course. 

With a little persuading, he gets Nora to agree to the plan – no Christmas cards, no parties, no decorations, and no gifts.  Luther even turns away the Boy Scouts selling trees, but promises to make a donation to the Jamboree in summer.  The Kranks are dieting and tanning to through the holidays as they prepare to leave on Christmas Day at noon for a ten-day cruise. 

Everything seems to be running smoothly till it’s time for the Hemlock neighborhood to put their Frostys on the roofs.  Luther becomes a non-conformist in the neighborhood and the object of their scorn.   

But alas, the plan goes awry when Blair calls on Christmas Eve to say she is coming home for their annual gathering and bringing her fiancé.  Instead of telling her the truth, they say they will pick her up at the airport and celebrate Christmas together.  That’s when holiday madness settles in on the Kranks. 

Skipping Christmas is a charming holiday book that should be read annually for the humor of the lunacy and the touching love of neighbors.  

John Grisham seems to be getting a lot of grief from reviewers expecting a legal thriller, then discovering A Painted House or Skipping Christmas; but I for one am very pleased to see a fresh side to his literary repartee.   

Skipping Christmas is in development for a 2002 Holiday feature film.

Joyce Dixon
Southern Scribe Reviews 

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