Skipping Christmas

John Grisham turns a satirical eye on the overblown ritual of the festive holiday season, and the result is Skipping Christmas, a modest but funny novel about the tyranny of December 25. Grisham’s story revolves around a typical middle-aged American couple, Luther and Nora Krank. On the first Sunday after Thanksgiving they wave their daughter Blair off to Peru to work for the Peace Corps, and they suddenly realize that “for the first time in her young and sheltered life Blair would spend Christmas away from home.” Luther Krank sees his daughter’s Christmas absence as an opportunity. He estimates that “a year earlier, the Luther Krank family had spent $6,100 on Christmas,” and have “precious little to show for it.” So he makes an executive decision, telling his wife, friends, and neighbors that “we won’t do Christmas.” Instead, Luther books a 10-day Caribbean cruise. But things start to turn nasty when horrified neighbors get wind of the Krank’s subversive scheme and besiege the couple with questions about their decision. Grisham builds up a funny but increasingly terrifying picture of how this tight-knit community turns on the Kranks, who find themselves under increasing pressure to conform. As the tension mounts, readers may wonder whether they will manage to board their plane on Christmas day. Skipping Christmas is Grisham-lite, with none of the serious action or drama of his legal thrillers, but a funny poke at the craziness of Christmas.

Pages: 227

Ages: All