For a special treat during the month of December, I have asked a few of my blogging friends to share a favorite Christmas book with my readers. Today's guest is Mark Buzard, an excellent book reviewer with a dry sense of humor. Mark blogs at thoughtsofasojourner and would welcome your comments here, as well as visitors to his blog. Now I'll let Mark introduce himself.
Blog: Thoughts of a Sojourner
I am a single guy who got a love for books at an early age, and never lost it. At the suggestion of a couple of friends, I emailed some publishers a few years ago to inquire about book review programs. I got into a few, which became several, and now I get more books to review than I have time to read, but it's fun. When I'm not reviewing books, I work as a security guard in a hospital, and spend time with my nieces and nephews, who I love dearly.
The Paper Bag Christmas
By Kevin Alan Milne
Center Street, 2008
Dr. Christopher Ringle is the last person you'd expect to find moonlighting as Santa Claus at the mall on the day after Thanksgiving. But it is there that he meets a young man named Molar Alan, who desperately needs a new perspective on the underlying value of Christmas. Dr. Ringle recruits Mo and his older brother as volunteers at a nearby children's hospital for the holiday season.
At the hospital, Mo is tasked to help bring holiday cheer to the young cancer patients on the fifth floor. His biggest challenge is befriending a decidedly angry girl who is so embarrassed by her scarred appearance that she hides her face behind the safety of a paper bag. Almost in spite of himself, Mo finds that Christmas joy emanates from a source far greater than the North Pole, while the young girl learns that she is more beautiful than she had ever imagined.
I reviewed this book a couple of years ago, and was very impressed with it. I'm not a person who is big on Santa, and the idea of Santa plays a big part in the book, but I still loved the book. I just read it a second time this weekend, and it affected me the same as it did the first time.
The story is told in the first person point of view by a nine-year-old boy in 1979. He and his brother are taken to visit Santa, and Santa involved them in something that causes them to truly get the real meaning of Christmas. It's a bittersweet story, with a lot of touching moments. The idea is given that Santa Claus is real, but the real meaning of Christmas overshadows Santa.
Of all of the Christmas stories I have read, this one shines above them all as one that shows the real meaning of Christmas, and how two young boys helped give the best Christmas ever to some needy kids, and in return received an even greater gift. If you read it, keep a box of tissues handy..... you will need them.
Carole: I have to add that I also read this book a few years ago and share Mark's thoughts. Thanks for visiting today, Mark.