Friday, December 24, 2010

Not a review: Christmas Cookie Club

I totally agree with this comment from Publisher's Weekly "Pearlman's effort tries hard not to be that lump of coal that it really is."

I was really looking forward to my annual Christmas story, but apparently it's not meant to be this year. I couldn't get past chapter 2. I liked the first couple of pages, where Marnie describes herself as the chief "cookie bitch" and outlines the strict rules for membership in the Christmas Cookie Club. But then we learn that:
- Marnie's first husband died of cancer when he was just 35
- her second husband was a serial cheater and she left him before her younger daughter was even born, making her a struggling single mother
- her eldest daughter is currently pregnant for the 4th time, having suffered 2 miscarriages and having to bring a stillborn baby to term and give birth to it (she describes it as "rotting inside her" and the baby is terribly deformed) - as the book opens they're waiting for test results to see if this latest baby will also be the victim of genetic defects

Wow, I feel full of the holiday spirit. There's then a bizarre 2-page essay on the history of flour before we get to meet Marnie's friend Charlene. Okay, I thought, here comes the comic relief of the wacky best friend. Nope. Charlene:
- has been divorced 3 times, including from one man who beat her
- she was also a struggling single mother to 3 kids to Marnie's 2
- her eldest son has just died, having fallen from an I-beam and been impaled on a spike of rebar
- this has caused her younger son to fall into depression and alcoholism

I was expecting the next friend to show up to have been blinded by household cleaning products and have just had her seeing-eye dog run over.

That was it for me, I don't care how good the cookies are.

(To be fair, the book may very well improve, but it was just way too much sorrow for me, especially on Christmas Eve eve.)

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