Friday, 22 November 2013
The Christmas Box by Richard Paul Evans
Note: This review is of the 20th anniversary edition **and contains spoilers.** I normally don't include spoilers but since it's really more of a short story than a full length book it's hard to review it without the spoilers. I am counting it for my Mental Illness Advocacy Reading Challenge because it deals with bereavement.
I didn't mind that the book was "overly sentimental." Most inspirational Christmas stories are. I was inspired by the story. I was inspired to hug and squeeze my babies and be grateful that they are alive and well.
The death of a child, especially a very young child, just isn't uplifting. I liked the story and was moved by it, but I was left feeling more sad than joyful. It's a Christmas book, so shouldn't it make me feel joyful?
What I did like about the book was that it included a sort of Christmas magic. Often I find books that are Christian are afraid to include anything that is extraordinary for fear if it seems magical it is evil. This book had a good balance of the secular idea of Christmas (such as magic and Santa Claus) and the Christian idea of Christmas.
I wish Keri had been more developed as a character. I found it odd that Mary was upset with how much Keri's husband worked and ignored their daughter, but Keri herself never voiced a complaint. It would have made more sense if there had been at least one scene where Keri expressed this displeasure to her husband. Or perhaps a scene where Mary tells Keri she needs to put her foot down and not tolerate it. Although perhaps Keri knew what Mary was up to when she says, "She's trying to tell you something and you're not seeing it."
My last complaint is about how Mary's brain tumor seemed to progress a bit fast from the time that she first learns of her condition. And like any Christmas story, the entire story culminates on Christmas Day. Uh huh. That part was a bit contrived, but again, like any Christmas story it's to be expected. No one ever has their epiphany the day after Christmas.
Overall I give it
This story has been made into a tv movie. I was disappointed that it wasn't available through Netflix but it turns out the movie is available here on Youtube. I'll try to have my review of the movie posted soon.