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Monday, May 21, 2012

A Christmas Gift by Diane Craver

A Christmas Gift by Diane Craver
Publisher: Whimsical Publications
Genre: YA, Historical, Holiday
Age Recommendation: 12+
Length: Short Story (70 pgs)
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Snapdragon

Justin Reeves is a man who has it all: a good job, a loving wife and children who are the center of his universe. Justin also has a secret he's hidden from everyone his entire life—or so he thought. Quite innocently his small daughter, Debby, stumbles upon his secret and is shocked by what she finds. She confronts her father with the awful truth, and together they embark upon a journey which takes her father from the darkness of shame into the light of victory.

Enjoy Christmas all year long! Ms. Craver’s A Christmas Gift is a delightful short story. The first person point of view, the exacting descriptions and realistic conversation make this immediate and personal.

Debra sneaks downstairs very very quietly late at night to use the bathroom and discovers, quite accidentally, that her father is busy studying her school book. Why would he be doing that? She wants to ask someone about his studious activity, yet, one problem or another keeps her from asking each person she thinks of. Still, she's curious and perseveres, until she finally realizes that he's trying to cope with a particular problem. Then, this precocious girl tries to come up with people who would be able to help him.

The highlight here might be the human interaction: the family and friends who are supportive, the neighborhood that can be relied on as a community. However, elements of the setting are simply enchanting. This novella put me in mind of a time of 4-H meetings, church groups, picnic outings and the importance of family life. Delightful.

‘A Christmas Gift’ is anything but a fast read, with its great attention to details and descriptions. This more than fits the story’s tone and overall pace, so no complaint: however, contemporary readers may find this quite different from their usual selections. A short sample:

… a woman of medium height and probably overweight by sixty pounds, wore a green dress in a fine material. A pretty lacy hankie was stuck in a front pocket, and around her neck was a small pearl choker. ….

Although this book is listed as YA, I think its true audience will be with older readers – some will be charmed to recall the conventions, customs, and perhaps, more importantly, the challenges of life in the 50s. The prologue is a nice, almost confidential-feeling conversation with the author. It's a charming introduction to A Christmas Gift. It’s also a little window to the past… a special thank you for sharing, to author Diane Craver.

1 comment:

Diane Craver said...

Hi Snapdragon,
Thank you so much for reading A CHRISTMAS GIFT and for writing such a thoughtful and lovely review of it. I'm glad you enjoyed reading it.