The Christmas List by Richard Paul Evans
James Kier was quite the real estate developer. He had made a fine career out of cutting deals with vulnerable people, metaphorically cutting their throat in the process. He had everything he ever wanted and more than he could ever need. In his wake, his soon to be ex-wife Sara was trying hard to keep moving forward while battling a fast-moving cancer and his adult soon to be married son wanted nothing whatsoever to do with him.
Oh well… collateral damage is bound to happen.
But now, James is reading a newspaper that is announcing his death. Apparently he had crashed his BMW in the snow storm the previous night and was pronounced dead at the scene. Clearly a mistake and no doubt a costly one for some poor reporter, James thought as he dials up his lawyer… but then he has second thoughts about so quickly announcing the mistake. Perhaps this would be a way to find out what people really think of him…
and find out he does.
Following some painfully harsh comments on the internet, James is quick to learn that some he thought were his allies are clearly not… and perhaps someone he wrote off too quickly surprisingly comes to his defense.
In this new light shed brightly on his true character, James decided to take a real hard look at those he has hurt while building himself up and seeing if in this season perhaps he can make some changes to who he was and take this “resurrection” as a new chance at life.
I wish I would have been able to get this review up a week ago because this turned out to be a wonderful read for the season. Never a big fan of holiday reads as I find them usually too mushy and dull… I admit I went into this book club read a little “dragging of the feet.” I was surprised to find not only did this book have a backbone, I could hardly put it down as page by page I wanted to know what would happen… would James be able to make amends or was it too late - beautifully, it turns out to be a little of both.
James is not a likable person. He has done things so terrible that I think even I would slam the door in his face. Throughout his building of fame and fortune he destroyed careers, families, and lives. As he tries to make amends you get a Dickens “Christmas Carol” feel to the book, James seeing for the first time what his decisions had cost others.
The book was a quick read, in a matter of a couple of hours I had it finished, but it was not finished with me. It really made me think about decisions I make and the people in my life. After reviewing this with my book club for our December read I think it is safe to say that none of us came out of the last page unscathed, we all had been emotionally touched at one point or another in the book.
The Bookies enjoyed this read and while it was a fast read we had to admit it did pack a punch. There was a good discussion over James’ treatment of Sara and her ability to forgive…. was she a soft person who was easily walked on, or was Sara something stronger… a person who could see beyond the current situation and know that deep down there was someone different underneath.
An excellent discussion book.
For our December meeting we had a fun white elephant gift exchange, a baby shower for one of our Bookies who will be a new mom in January and we each pitched in $10 to purchase a book in the bag for our Library, which is a program where they check out 10 copies of the same book all at once for book clubs and other reading groups. We purchased, Defending Jacob.
And of course, we had out Christmas potluck…