Reviewed by Amy Gruzesky
This collection of holiday stories by Kevin Moore is a perfect read for the holiday season: short enough to be read during what is sure to be only short bursts of down time during this busy time of year, but sentimental and touching enough to make readers appreciate the true meaning of the season.
The characters populating these short stories are all flawed, troubled, lonely, or all of the above, and of course, with very different attitudes facing a very different type of holiday than the throngs of people they see around them happily going about their holiday rituals.
While some of the stories are a bit predictable and even a tad bit too sentimental in spots, they are, nonetheless, enjoyable and leave the reader feeling emotionally satisfied.
There is Matthew, a young boy who dreads spending his Christmas vacation with his seemingly curmudgeonly grandfather, but who discovers a different side to the stern man he knew and gains a greater appreciation for him.
A 9-1-1 operator and former beauty queen starts out feeling less than happy and excited with her life. Her perspective changes when she gets a call from a small child that spurs her to take action to save a young girl’s and her siblings’ Christmas.
One story is about an angel on earth and the battles being waged everyday between good and evil right under our human noses, and the ways ordinary people are being helped every day by our ‘guardian’ angels.
And perhaps most unforgettable was Jesse, a troubled teen heading down the wrong path despite his parents’ best efforts to set him right, who discovers a higher calling after being sentenced to community service at a rehabilitation center for handicapped children.
A common thread in just about all of these stories is that the main characters find their way to a better place by opening themselves up to others and allowing themselves to feel empathy and compassion for them, and then using those feelings to take action that helps those who are less fortunate and/or suffering, truly imparting the real meaning of the holidays.