I may have a shriveled, gore splattered heart but every once in a while I like to peek outside my dungeon and experience what some people call feel good and heartfelt. It makes me appreciate my spiders and skeletons more.
The Goss family are unhappy. Dad, Hunter, is struggling at work. Mom, Julianna, feels unfulfilled being a stay at home mom. Thirteen year old Ello finds puberty difficult. Grandpa, Sander, stills mourns the death of his wife.
When Julianna falls seriously ill, can this pulling apart family pull together to save Christmas?
This is my first experience of reading W. Bruce Cameron. He writes well, leading you effortlessly through the pages in a dance that is familiar but pleasant.
Early in the book he shows the reaction of different characters to the same scene, and I enjoyed how they misconstrued each other’s actions.
Unfortunately, underneath all this glossy artificial sweetness is a cliche ridden holiday special. The software engineers at Hunter’s workplace are unhygienic introverts. Ello and Sander’s problems are solved by dating. Julianna finds happiness by returning to law. The three year old twins, like the two dogs in the story, are constantly happy and oblivious to anything around them.
It’s not that I object to any of these things in themselves, but tv shows and made for TV movies have been peddling these pat resolutions to all life’s problems for decades. It would have been nice if one of the storylines had taken an unconventional turn.
However, to paraphrase Fry from Futurama. The same storylines are familiar, and the familiar makes us feel safe. It’s unfair of me to expect subversion in this novel. It will most certainly be filmed, as most of the author’s other works, and it meets all the beats for a feel good movie.
I bought this book because I thought the main characters would be dogs. Unfortunately, the two dogs in this book are very much surplus to requirements. They occasionally worry about their humans, but otherwise have no personality or part to play in the narrative.
This book is not for me. I was more interested in the abused boy whose father forced him to abandon his puppy than in the Goss family. It didn’t make me feel good, it made me angry at its superficial, unrealistic depiction of life. However, it’s a quick, easy read and it’s like eating a full tin of Christmas candy. It feels like a good idea at the start, but you feel sick by the time you finish it.
I award A Dog’s Perfect Christmas…
A Dog’s Perfect Christmas is available for $6.04 ebook and $15.99 print book on Amazon.