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Christmas audiobook mini-reviews

09 Dec

I decided I wanted to try to get a little more Christmas spirit going, and thought I’d track down some holiday related audiobooks.

I headed to my library’s Overdrive site, and searched for Christmas.  I downloaded the first two audiobooks that currently had copies available to check out, and where the description held any appeal at all to me.

They were two very different books, but they had more in common than just featuring Christmas.  They were both short and funny. The short was exactly what I needed, but in both cases I didn’t quite get into the humor.

First book:

Wishin' and Hopin' CD: A Christmas StoryWishin’ and Hopin’ by Wally Lamb

This book was 3.5 stars for me. I think it may have been a 4 star book that just wasn’t quite what I was looking for.

From the HarperCollins website:

In Wally Lamb’s pitch perfect new novel, it is 1964. LBJ and Lady Bird are in the White House, Meet the Beatles is on everyone’s turntable, and ten-year-old Felix Funicello (distant cousin of the iconic Annette!) is doing his best to navigate fifth grade—easier said than done when scary movies still give you nightmares and you bear a striking resemblance to a certain adorable cartoon boy. But there are several things young Felix can depend on: the birds and bees are puzzling, television is magical, and this is one Christmas he’s never going to forget.

Felix just isn’t my kind of kid, and while I could laugh at his hijinks, I never quite connected with him or any of the other characters in the book– except maybe the teacher.

Wishin’ and Hopin’ was a genuinely funny book, with a mixture of schoolboy humor and the kind of views of childhood that are best viewed from a distance. I didn’t really enjoy the recurring sexual jokes (fairly mild) that went right over Felix’s head, but most of the looks at school politics (between the students as well as those involving the teachers)

Still, the details of the book were fun– I particularly enjoyed Felix’s crush on his third cousin he’d never actually met– Annette Funicello.  I liked Felix’s family, his relationship with his older sisters, and with his mother.  I enjoyed his mother’s televised trip to the Pillsbury bake-off.

If you enjoy stories featuring a mischievous (although well-intentioned) young boy, by all means check this one out. It’s a fun romp.

Second:

Blue ChristmasBlue Christmas by Mary Kay Andrews

Another 3.5 stars, although that may have been more of the audiobook production– I think it might have been 4 stars on paper.

It’s the week before Christmas, and antiques dealer Weezie Foley is in a frenzy to garnish her shop for the Savannah historical district decorating contest, which she intends to win. Weezie is ready to shoot herself with her glue gun by the time she’s done, but the results are stunning. She’s certainly one-upped the owners of the trendy boutique around the corner, but suddenly things start to go missing from her display, and there seems to be a mysterious midnight visitor to her shop.

Still, Weezie has high hopes for the holiday—maybe in the form of an engagement ring from her chef boyfriend. But Daniel, always moody at the holidays, seems more distant than usual. Throw in Weezie’s decidedly odd family, a 1950s Christmas tree pin, and even a little help from the King himself (Elvis, that is), and maybe there will be a pocketful of miracles for Weezie this Christmas Eve.

The characters were all so exaggerated as to take away from the rather enjoyable story, at least at first.  I’m not sure how much of this was how they were written versus how they were performed. Other than this, the narration was good, and I think the over-the-top characters may work better for others than they did for me.

By the end, I really enjoyed Weezie, and was OK with her boyfriend, her best friend, and the mysterious homeless woman that catches Weezie’s attention. I never was entirely comfortable with the portrayal of the gay couple that own the competing store across the square, and Daniel’s family was just too much for me.

The story was fun, featuring competing Christmas displays,two dogs in love, a crazy Christmas Eve celebration, and even stranger family revelations.

The ending headed toward sappy, which was exactly what I was looking for in a Christmas book.

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2 Comments

Posted by on December 9, 2010 in books, reviews

 

Tags: , , , ,

2 responses to “Christmas audiobook mini-reviews

  1. Rebecca Rasmussen

    December 10, 2010 at 5:52 am

    Thank you for the heads-up on these — I think I will stay away too 🙂 xo

     
  2. Colleen (Books in the City)

    December 11, 2010 at 6:06 pm

    I read Wishin and Hopin last year and liked it – although it is not a typical Wally Lamb book. I love how he develops his characters so fully but this book is really too short for that.

     

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