I read this book during the Christmas holidays in 2009. Please forgive me as I'm a bit behind on my book reviewing pretty much since October '09 because my computer had major issues and crashed. Now, it's a new year(2010 -Can you believe it?) and luckily I'm so happy to have a new computer that I'm aiming to get some books reviewed now.
This book is simply concise yet I was pleasantly surprised with how easily it charmed me. I enjoyed spending time in this sleepy little world of Hope Jensen's. I enjoyed her dreams, felt her pains and wanted her to work out her problems.
Here's the basic story: Hope is a newspaper reporter with a career mission to do better and succeed in getting promoted. Human interest stories are her passion and this is what she believes will set her apart. So, naturally as she endures one of her most horrible Christmas Eve's in her life she immediately looks for a way to remedy the problem with her writng skills. Since out of that Christmas Eve night, she becomes the recipient of a Christmas Jar which drives her unwavering curiousity to find out who is behind it. Of course, what she finds isn't what she expected but precisely what she needed but doesn't realize it at the time.
This is a feel good book and it was what I needed for this Christmas season. For me, it was light and simple not the most developed, story or character wise, which leaves a lot open for discussion and interpretation.
On a personal level, I was also surprised because many who've recommended this book to me over the years had stated that it would make me want to have my own Christmas Jar. This is part of the reason I hadn't read it yet, perhaps, I didn't want to feel a guilt trip to be charitable. Charity is a very personal thing in my mind and I don't want to do what everyone thinks I should when it comes to that. I want it to come from my heart. So, while it may be true for some to feel compelled to start a Christmas Jar and it certainly worked for this family and these people in the story, I have to say, I was happy not to feel guilty. I don't necessarily feel that I have to have or start my own Christmas Jar. Don't worry, I will be charitable in my own way and I am inspired by the overall message this story had to offer. I enjoyed the heart of this story which I feel deals more with human nature than the actual charitable aspect.
I'm happy to have read it this year and maybe next year I'll read the sequel after all the hype dies down like I obviously did with this one.
149 pages, August 2006, My rating: 4 stars