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Skipping Christmas    by John Grisham order for
Skipping Christmas
by John Grisham
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Random House, 2010 (2002)
Hardcover, Softcover, Paperback, CD, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

John Grisham's Skipping Christmas, a combinaton of Scrooge story, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?, and commentary on the excesses of the holiday, ultimately makes a statement about the importance of community in our lives - it reminds us that no man is an island, even if he hopes to escape to one for Christmas.

Curmudgeonly accountant Luther Krank is not looking forward to the holidays, which he will spend alone with his wife Nora, their only daughter Blair having just flown to eastern Peru for a stint with the Peace Corps. When he tallies the damage and does the math, it tells him that his family spent $6,100 on the previous holiday. So he sneaks into a travel agency, picks up brochures for a Caribbean cruise, and heads home to sell Nora on the idea of 'a complete boycott of Christmas.'

When she agrees to leaving at noon on Christmas Day, Luther believes his troubles are over ... but they have just begun. Friends and neighbors cannot believe they are skipping Christmas. Local ire is especially aroused by Luther's refusal to put his seven foot tall Frosty on the rooftop (a decoration matching those of everyone else on Hemlock street). As a result, Hemlock loses the street decoration contest and the Kranks' perceived crankiness even makes the news.

Though Luther soldiers on, it's only a vision of sunlight and beaches that keeps him going. Then Blair calls and the Guess Who's Coming to Dinner? scenario kicks in, resulting in a very funny farce, in which the poor couple who chose to skip Christmas desperately need community help to make it happen for them. At the end of it all, Luther feels blessed and makes a generous gesture in return.

So if the effort required to enjoy the holiday sometimes seems too much for you, read John Grisham's Skipping Christmas, and you'll quickly decide that it's easier, less painful, and ultimately more satisfying to simply get on with things.

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