Publication Date: October 26, 2010
Luther and Nora Krank typically do Christmas on overdrive but when their daughter, Blair, joins a Peace Corp trip in Peru for the holiday season they’re faced with a holiday season alone. Luther crunches the numbers and finds a vacation would save them a lot of money and stress. The Krank’s neighbors aren’t on board with their decision as it jeopardizes the block’s chances of winning the local decorating contest. With the Kranks fighting everyone, what happens when their daughter decides to come home for Christmas?
Fans of John Grisham may find Skipping Christmas somewhat different from his usual fare. It is an unashamedly fluffy comic holiday farce. There are few surprises and, while I’ve never been a Tim Allen fan, this one is better on the screen (there is a feeling that it was written expressly for film) but formulaic comedy fun in any format. Luther is a stock curmudgeon while Nora is his hesitant conspirator who is willing to stand by her husband (provided they make their usual charity donations) but would truly like for everyone to be happy and get along.
Skipping Christmas reads as a throwaway contract book. Its an easy fluffy read that one would not expect of an author usually finding himself in the legal thriller genre. Perhaps a nod to reader expectation is Vic Fromeyer (played by Dan Aykroyd in the film), the self appointed leader of the neighborhood decorating committee and, in the book, near psychotic in his pursuit of the Kranks. There is a decided lack of holiday spirit in his taunting, bullying and machinations that leads one to wonder what it would be like to not be a Christian and living on that street. On screen there’s a rounding out of a person who just really cares about the holidays and winning while on page he’s a character in need of control. In most other respects, the film is pretty faithful to its on-the-page counterpart. The Kranks upset everyone from the Boy Scouts to their neighbors and in order to pull everything together for Blair, they need the help of their friends. To compare Skipping Christmas to National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation lacks justice in that the former doesn’t have the wacky comedy complexity of the latter. It is pure Christmas feel-good and likely not intended for anything else.
There are few real messages in Skipping Christmas. There’s the sense of community and compassion for others but that’s all counterbalanced until the end of the book. In real life when Blair calls from the airport wanting to show her Peruvian fiance her special holiday traditions the parents would say “We didn’t really plan for that, sweetie.” The extent to which they went and the pulling together for Blair is perhaps somewhat unrealistic especially given what we’ve already seen of the characters. The best thing about Skipping Christmas is that its fun, fast and not something one much give lot of thought. There are minor errors typical of any published work but nothing really to interrupt the flow of the piece.
At the end of this fairly short read, Skipping Christmas is a feel good work. If you’re looking for something quick, pick it up today.
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Publication Date: October 7, 2010
The Physicists was written by the author, Friedrich Dürrenmatt in 1961. Dürrenmatt is a twentieth-century, Swiss playwright, novelist and essayist who is renowned for his philosophical crime novels (The Inspector Barlach Mysteries: The Judge and His Hangman and Suspicion) as well as in his satiric, tragic-comic dramas that are centered around post-World War II. The Physicists is his first classically constructed work and is generally considered his best play. It deals with the ethics of science. In 1963, the play was performed worldwide and was finally staged in New York in 1964. If you don’t mind spoilers, continue reading.
Continue reading The Physicists by Friedrich Dürrenmatt
Publication Date: April 30, 2017
Elliot Rose is the guy that makes the ghostly events happen on the television show Ghosthunters UK when he runs into a real ghost. Gordon Cole was Hapkito, a popular wrestler in the 80s. Gordon thinks that his return is some higher elevation achieved but what’s really going on?
Continue reading The impending Sausage Sandwich of Doom by Kirk St. Moritz
Publication Date: Reprint Edition 1994
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead is a comedy that features two minor characters from Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.”
Continue reading Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard
Publication Date: November 28, 2006
Aziraphale, an angel, and Crowley, a demon, aren’t ready for the end times. They’ve gotten quite comfortable in their years on Earth. Despite representing good and evil, the two decide to work together to postpone the inevitable.
Continue reading Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
Publication Date: October 28, 2016
Martin Gallagher finds a house in the country and a widow he wants to romance. The wrench in the works is Agnes, a jealous ghost with nothing to lose who wants Martin all for herself.
Continue reading Curses by Calvin Dean
Release Date: January 3, 2017
The Witch’s Vacuum Cleaner and Other Stories is an anthology of 14 stories with a magical and humorous twist.
Continue reading The Witch’s Vacuum Cleaner and Other Stories by Terry Pratchett
Publication Date: June 1, 1991
Dirk Gently is a holistic detective who believes that everything is connected. He sets out to help a man named Richard’s whose girlfriend’s father has been murdered and is convinced that the crime must be solved to clear his own name.
Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency is the first book in the Dirk Gently series.
Continue reading Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams
Publication Date: October 1, 2012
Susan, a 58-year-old woman, encounters an altercation between a woman and a child in a public restroom where she stops while out with her sister. In her enthusiasm to film the conflict to post on her YouTube page, she inadvertently finds herself the object of the strange child’s ire. Susan wakes up to find that she looks 30 years younger and, oh yes, she’s also a vampire. The women in her life are eager to jump on this fountain of youth but the vampire world is much more organized than they thought it would be and their behavior is attracting attention they could do without. Is a youthful body worth the danger they’ve found?
Continue reading They’re So Vein (The Grateful Undead Book 1) by Susan Stec
Publication Date: April 11, 2017
Nani Johnson is settling into her life in Hawaii playing the ukulele for events. When she goes to pick up food for a last-minute dinner, a man dies behind her car. Turns out, the man is from the same super-small Kansas town that Nani and her ultra-nutty mom left a few years before. As the body count climbs and Nani and her mom hit the suspect list, can she solve the mystery of the murders before she finds herself playing ukulele behind bars for the rest of her life?
Ukulele Deadly is the 7th book in the Aloha Lagoon Mystery Series.
Continue reading Ukulele Deadly (Aloha Lagoon Mysteries Book 7) by Leslie Langtry