When I was at a bookstore yesterday, two people were looking for this book, and when I mentioned I was reviewing it to friends, each asked if they had seen the movie. I missed this movie when it aired, and I have never heard the song that shares its name.
All I knew was that everyone who had seen the movie said it was very well done --- and really sad. Last night, when I could not sleep, I pulled it off my "to be read" stack and two hours and four tissues later I read the last page.
The story is this: Robert, a successful attorney who has lost sight of the meaning of family, life and Christmas, meets Nathan, an eight-year-old boy who is losing his mom to cancer. A chance meeting where Nathan is shopping to give his mom one last gift awakens Robert to the family he does not know.
As with most holiday books, the story takes place over just a few days, and life lessons are compressed between the pages. There are more than a few places where I might have done a sharper edit to connect the stories with a bit more subtlety, but nonetheless, I found myself wrapped up in the story.
Donna VanLiere is known for her spiritual writing, and here she clearly strikes that mark. I can see readers curled under an afghan reading this one. Helpful hint: Before you settle in, make sure you have tissues nearby!
If you want to give more than a book, here are some gift suggestions to pair with this: A CD of "The Christmas Shoes" as sung by NewSong, a wonderful pair of glittery shoes or slippers, or some other symbol of your love like the Dunhill Billiard pipe talked about on these pages.
Reviewed by Carol Fitzgerald on October 26, 2004