The Angel Doll: A Christmas Story

Jerry Bledsoe, Author, Tim Rickard, Illustrator
Jerry Bledsoe, Author, Tim Rickard, Illustrator Down Home Press $14.95 (120p) ISBN 978-1-878086-54-9
Reviewed on: 09/02/1996
Release date: 09/01/1996
Proof that a Christmas book need not drip with mawkish sentimentality is offered by this affecting novella from the author of such true-crime novels as Bitter Blood. Though published as fiction, the story Bledsoe tells has the ring of truth, plus the asset of his lean prose and carefully nuanced delivery. The tale is set in the early 1950s in a small North Carolina town, where the 10-year-old narrator shares a newspaper route with a friend, Whitey Black. Whitey's father is dead, and his younger sister, Sandy, has survived polio with a wasted leg and precarious health. Inspired by her favorite book, the classic The Littlest Angel, Sandy hopes for an angel doll for Christmas. How Whitey manages to find the doll, and the tragic event that ensues, is the substance of the story. Because Bledsoe doesn't milk the emotions, the poignant ending is neither manipulative nor preachy, but authentically moving. One wishes, however, that the illustrations by Tim Rickard were a tad more sophisticated. (Oct.)
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