CHRISTMAS GIFTS, CHRISTMAS VOICES: A Holiday Novel of Hope and Healing

John Allen, Editor
John Allen, Editor . HCI $10.95 (114p) ISBN 0-7573-0053-7
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The opening lines of this novella—"It was a perfect life. And it was hard for Eric Sanders to imagine how things could be any better."—speak to the fundamental problem with Allen's writing, which consistently violates the old adage about showing and not telling. The story is heartbreaking; while wrapping Christmas presents for his family, Eric answers the front door to find a policeman bringing the news that his wife and children have been killed in a car accident. On Christmas Eve, Eric distributes the gifts that he had bought for his family to other people, and then the story fast-forwards to several years later when Eric learns a lesson about how his gifts changed their recipients' lives. Although this is a sincere and well-intentioned tale of generosity, it is also saccharine, didactic and unimaginatively written. (Oct.)

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