We don’t do Christmas. We save the money, spend it on ourselves for once. Not a dime on food we won’t eat or clothes we won’t wear or gifts no one needs. Not one red cent. It’s a boycott, Nora, a complete boycott of Christmas. (11)
With this fantastic idea, Luther Krank sets in motion the wildest Christmas season in his neighborhood’s history. With their daughter away to Peru for her first Christmas away from home, the Kranks hope to fight the depression by skipping the holiday entirely in favor of a Caribbean cruise, though very few in town are willing to accept their scheme as anything by selfish nastiness run amok. Nothing stands in their way of holiday away, save for a surprise phone call on Christmas Eve, just hours before their departure.
I’ve enjoyed reading through a number of Christmas books this season—fiction and non-fiction alike—but none have been as fun as Grisham’s short novel, Skipping Christmas. It’s been so long since I’ve read a Grisham, I’d forgotten how simple yet engaging his writing style can be. The majority of his characters in this book are too flat or characatured to be believable, yet that in itself sets the tone for its comedy. I laughed a numbers of times through this comic book, and even though the story got tedious—untying all those knots it had made for itself—I sort of wished it could have been a bit longer.
The only thing one could hold against the book is the latent racism which Grisham, for whatever reason, writes into the Kranks. Why they appear to be so overly concerned with Enrique’s skin color seems to diminish a bit from the overall package, though that didn’t seem to prevent the story from selling to Hollywood producers. After I finished the book, my wife and I watched Christmas with the Kranks, which is a fairly consistent film version, though—as usual—the book was much better than the film.
In a number of years, I may come back to this one like I might to a favorite movie. It’s a fairly clean, pleasant read for the holidays, and while it emphasizes giving and community, like most every other secular offering during this important season, it lacks the religious purpose of Christmas. If you can get over that hump, though, this would be a fun escape for your holiday break.