Friday, December 25, 2009

The Christmas List

Evans, Richard Paul. 2009. The Christmas List. Simon & Schuster. 368 pages.

James Kier looked back and forth between the newspaper headline and the photograph of himself, not sure if he should laugh or call his attorney. It was the same photograph the Tribune had used a couple of years earlier when they featured him on the front page of the business section....While the photograph was the same, the headline could not have been more different. Not many people get to read their own obituary.

James Kier comes close to beating old Ebenezer Scrooge when it comes to crankiness. Well, not crankiness exactly. But for his cynical, cold-hearted, what's-in-it-for-me approach to life. His business practices don't just border on unethical and immoral, they're just downright mean and heartless. He doesn't care who he hurts in his life--it could be his childhood best friend, his elderly neighbor, or his own wife and son. The truth is if ever a man was in need of a wake-up call, it was James Kier. And you can count on Richard Paul Evans to deliver that and more in The Christmas List.

How do you want to be remembered? What do you want your legacy to be? Kier always thought he didn't care. That it just didn't matter how people felt about him. People's feelings just didn't rank very high with him. He didn't care how many enemies he made. Not if it made him richer, more successful. But when Kier reads his own obituary--well, more precisely reads the comments his online obituary brings, he realizes just how much he does care. It stings, really stings, to see how very many people are rejoicing in his death, how many are happy to talk bad about him. What he realizes--in those moments--is that truth is being spoken. The person they're describing, that is him. That is how he lived, that is how he treated people.

So what can he do about it? Can he change who he is? Can he change his legacy before it's too late? With an oh-so-helpful secretary, Kier has a plan for "fixing" his image, his legacy. But can it be done all by Christmas day?

I really enjoyed this one. It had an interesting premise. I didn't know at first how well it would work for me. But I must admit that even though this one is definitely message-driven and a bit melodramatic, well, it worked all the same. Expect it to be oh-so-bittersweet.

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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