Remembering Christmas: A Novel
by Dan Walsh
Grand Rapids: Revell Publishing, 2011
I almost didn’t keep reading “Remembering Christmas” by Dan Walsh. I was a little less than half-way through, and while the story was interesting enough, I really wasn’t hooked. I have a very limited amount of time to read and I was beginning to wonder if this book was truly worth spending mine on. By the time I reached the end, however, I was so glad that I kept with it!
While it opens and closes in the present day, this is primarily a period piece, set in 1980. I am old enough to remember 1980 and to recall the events – “Who Shot J.R.?” and John Lennon’s death – that Walsh references to root this story at that time. At some points, however, it seems like he was trying a bit too hard to make sure the readers know that this is 1980 and not now – throwing in references to particular songs, prices of things, etc. It serves to take one out of the story, which is unfortunate, because the story is a good one.
Rick Denton, a successful accountant, is called home by his mother right after Thanksgiving. His step-father, with whom he had a poor relationship, has had an aneurysm, and he wants her to come back home and man the small Christian book store that the two of them run. It is the last place he wants to be, but he reluctantly answers the call.
He spends his time chasing off J.D., a street-person his stepfather befriended who lives behind the bookstore, trying to make sense of the bookkeeping system, and getting to know Angela, the young single mother who works part-time at the bookstore.
The story has a surprising twist that changes everything and makes this book definitely worth reading. It is a great Christmas read, but can be enjoyed any time of the year. It pulled at the heartstrings and made me smile.