Imagine a year without Christmas. No crowded malls, no corny office parties, no fruitcakes, no unwanted presents. That’s just what Luther and Nora Krank have in mind when they decide that, just this once, they’ll skip the holiday altogether. Theirs will be the only house on Hemlock Street without a rooftop Frosty; they won’t be hosting their annual Christmas Eve bash; they aren’t even going to have a tree. They won’t need one, because come December 25 they’re setting sail on a Caribbean cruise. But, as this weary couple is about to discover, skipping Christmas brings enormous consequences–and isn’t half as easy as they’d imagined. A classic tale for modern times, Skipping Christmas offers a hilarious look at the chaos and frenzy that have become part of our holiday tradition.
Luther and Nora Krank just put their daughter on a plane to Peru to start her stint in the Peace Corps. Typically known for their all-out Christmas parties and general festive-ness, the Kranks aren't quite sure what to do with themselves this holiday season. Their daughter doesn't plan to be able to come back in time for this year's Christmas, so their hearts just aren't in the holiday mood this time around. Luther, an accountant, decides to look at the cost of Christmases past... just for funzies, you know... and is shocked to find last year alone cost him $6,100 -- over $6000 just to spread holiday cheer for one month! Luther's not having it this year. Instead he comes up with the idea to skip Christmas, take that money typically set aside for gifts, decoration, food, etc and put it into a Caribbean cruise, a cruise they'll start on Christmas day. Nora is hesitant at first, but she can't argue with Luther's logic for long. For the next week or so they find themselves politely turning away neighborhood decorating commitees, tree sellers, Christmas card companies.... all the vendors who typically rely on the Kranks' business. All is going well until Christmas day when a surprise phone call has them scrambling to backtrack and catch up on all they've been trying to avoid this season.
Man, back in the day I used to eat up the Grisham novels. But for some reason I haven't touched any of his books in years, though I still have a number of them unread on my shelves now (I'm working my way back round, really!). This one was sort of always in the back of my mind to get to one day but I'm just now making that a reality this year. It was either last year or the year before I saw the movie adaptation, Christmas With The Kranks, with Tim Allen & Jamie Lee Curtis as Luther and Nora. Gotta say, on this one I have to give it to the movie adaptation. Not to say this novella was bad, not at all. Just happened to prefer the screen version this time around. Had to crack up though when Luther mentions gifting his daughter a Walkman, making me check the copyright date on this story because my last gifted Walkman was about 3rd-4th grade I think. Copyright says 2001 though. Pretty sure we at least had advanced to Discmans by then, but hey it gives me a nice nostalgic laugh now.
I couldn't quite pinpoint exactly why, but I found myself liking book Luther less and less as the story progressed. Maybe because there are a few moments where book Luther does make some comments that are borderline distasteful, just rubbed me wrong a little and maybe spoiled him as a character for me after that. Still a pretty enjoyable holiday read that I would recommend for those days in between all the holiday craziness when you JUST need a minute to yourself with a warm mug of something nice and some freakin' peace already... I know ya feel me ;-)