Tuesday, September 22, 2009

One Imperfect Christmas

Mia was sick last night, so I kept her home from school today to make sure that she recovered without making anyone else ill. It must have been something she ate, because she's back to her normal bubbly, busy self. We had to get up to drive Molly to the bus stop, and when we got back, Mia stopped still in the yard struck by the beauty of the sun through the foggy air. So I grabbed the camera and took this picture. If it weren't for my baby girl, I probably wouldn't have even noticed the beauty. I was tired and cranky and not paying any attention to the world around me. Thank God for Mia who always reminds me to look at the world through her eyes and see just how good God truly is.

One Imperfect Christmas
by Myra Johnson is a poignant look at how tragedy can shatter a family. Natalie Pearce loves her life, and although she may complain about her messy husband or her teenage daughter's attitude, she's happy working part time as a graphic designer and painting in her spare time. Three weeks after Christmas, she receives a phone call that brings her entire world to a shuddering crash; her mother has suffered a severe stroke and will most likely never recover. What brings Natalie to her knees is the knowledge that if she had just answered her mother's plea for help putting Christmas decorations away, her mother wouldn't have had the stroke while alone and may have received treatment in time to recover. Natalie's guilt propels her into pushing away everyone she loves and focusing on nothing but her work. As a new Christmas approaches, she is filled with both dread and hope, can she have one more "perfect" Christmas with her family? Every character is so wrapped up in themselves that it will take a miracle to bring them back together. Johnson performs with precision an autopsy on this dying family, portraying to readers each wound and sadness. My one complaint with the book is that in the 49 weeks the book covers, Lissa, the teenage daughter, never ages beyond 13. If her birthday was in the three weeks not covered, it should have been referenced somewhere! That petty point aside, Johnson's novel has a powerful lesson for readers about learning to love and letting go of regret.

Today is your last chance to sign up for the chance to win one of two copies of Barbara Wilson's Kiss Me Again. Drop me an email before 10 pm tonight!


Myra Johnson said...

Thank you so much for posting a review of my debut novel. And I'm glad your little girl is all better today!