The Most Beautiful Gift: A Christmas Story

Jonathan Snow, Author Warner Books $12.95 (87p) ISBN 978-0-446-52082-9
The Christmas book barrage reaches rock bottom in this charmless quasi-fable that will probably bore even readers the same age as its unlikely protagonist, who is eight. Young Mark lives in an unnamed suburb in the care of Grandpa Gus, while his tense, workaholic parents are at their jobs in the city. One December day, Mark catches a snowflake and puts it in the freezer until he can give it to ""the best person in the world."" Neither the venal neighborhood grocer nor the science-obsessed doctor nor the eccentric philosopher (doesn't every community have a resident philosopher?) seem to appreciate Mark's quest, but Grandpa is happy to spin two stories--one a fantasy involving angels and a querulous, hectoring, intimidating God; the other a fairy tale featuring a wizard named Buffello and a querulous, hectoring, intimidating king--that lead to a happy ending. Unbelievable in all its elements, the story's subtext is a supercilious criticism of a society that has lost its natural values and succumbed to synthetic conveniences (as represented by packaged food and huckster advertising). Mark's perceptions of society and his dialogue are ridiculously age-inappropriate; the plot is insultingly formulaic; and what is presented as spiritual inspiration has as much life as a block of wood. No wonder Jonathan Snow (get it?) is a pseudonym. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 03/01/1999
Release date: 03/01/1999
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 978-0-446-56840-1
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-57042-443-4
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