Every once in a while, Christmas annoys me. Don’t misunderstand me, I love Christmas. It is a wonderful time of the year. I enjoy the quality time with my family, I enjoy presents and food, but mostly I love giving gifts to my wife and my family. Still, the secularism of Christmas and the stress of increased schedules can be quite frustrating.
In this short novel, Grisham mixes an extremely plausible reality with some over-the-top events. Luther and Nora Krank celebrate Christmas every year with parties, decorations, lots of cards and gifts. With their only daughter in Central America for this Christmas season, Luther Krank has decided to skip the festivities this year. Understand, Luther Krank isn’t really a cranky person, rather the stress of the season (and its associated financial burden) has caused him to forget the point of Christmas.
In an effort to convince his wife to go along with his plan, Luther books a trip for two on a Caribbean cruise. Once they are committed to skipping Christmas, the fun begins…. How do you explain to your friends that you won’t be inviting them to the usual Christmas frivolities? So how do you explain to your neighbors, that you won’t be participating in the usual Christmas activities? And how do you tell your family that you won’t be sending gifts?
The Krank’s neighbors are a bit excessive in their attempts to coerce socially acceptable Christmas behaviors out of the cranks. The peer pressure is enormous. From the neighborhood decorating plans to the Christmas Eve party, the Kranks have become social outcasts due to their refusal to participate – they even make headline news. This drives Luther wild – he doesn’t care about the choices that others make. He just wants to be left alone. Understandable.
Then the Krank’s daughter announced on the morning of Christmas Eve that she was bringing her new fiancée (a foreign gentleman) home that very night. Their daughter has promised her new fiancée that he would get to see how Christmas is “really” celebrated…. Now, they have six hours to make Christmas happen….
In a manner similar to Dicken’s Scrooge, Luther Krank learns the meaning of Christmas. This is an enjoyable read at any time of the year. Fast paced and believable, you will spend the book laughing.