I’d considered reading this book over the summer, but it simply wasn’t at the top of my list, so I never got to it. Then, a few months ago, a couple of my friends decided to read it for a school project, so I figured I may as well join them. It took me longer than I’d like to admit to finish it because I was busy with school, and I stopped a few times to read other books. I finally finished it at the beginning of my break from school, and while I liked it, I was glad to be able to read other things without this book haunting me every time I picked something else up.
I knew the book was going to be sad, and I had the ending spoiled for me months prior to reading it, but I decided to read it anyway because I was doing it with my friends, and I’d heard from reliable sources (aka Goodreads) that it was worth a read.
This book was said to have very interesting characters, and it did not disappoint in that respect. The main character was complex and confusing, especially for a child. The adults around him were ridiculous and yet very real. The relationships that he had with his family, specifically his parents and his grandmother, gave the book more depth and provided reasoning for the emotions that he dealt with throughout the book.
As the book deals with such an emotional topic, I was worried that I wouldn’t like the way it was discussed. I found it to be not only very tasteful, but also very raw. None of the characters’ feelings about the events are watered down. One of the things that makes Oskar such a realistic and relatable character is that he’s just a kid, and he is confused about how he feels. The author doesn’t make him analyze everything and come to a logical conclusion, which makes sense, because he’s a child, albeit an abnormal one. In addition, his mother and grandmother’s trouble processing and coming to terms with the circumstances are very real, as opposed to characters in other books like this, that know exactly what to think about the situation.
The book is a little confusing to read, as it is told from multiple points of view and in multiple time periods. Also, when told from Oskar’s point of view, as much of the book is, the dialogue is not split up. Reading it was difficult at first, but once I adjusted to it, I was fine, and it actually made the book more interesting. Because the book is told by multiple people, the story is easier to understand than it would have been if Oskar had tried to learn all of it. While it did make it more difficult at times, it also made the story make more sense, especially at the end.
After finishing the book, I was able to sit back and think about the entire story, which was a little difficult to do while reading the book. In all, I really enjoyed this book, and it was different than what I often read, so I liked being able to step outside of my comfort zone. It was certainly sad, but I think it’s important in discussing the aftermath of 9/11, because it talks about how hard it must be to grasp the idea of such a situation, let alone move on after one.
I got this book several months ago, but I kept putting off reading it because I had other books that were more pressing, and I wanted to save it for the winter, as I thought it would make a good read for a snowy day. I was correct in my assumption; at the beginning of winter break, as I was deciding what I wanted to read before going back to school, I remembered this book and moved it to the top of the list. I ended up reading the majority of the book on Christmas eve, and I finished it Christmas day, which put me in the holiday spirit the book deserves. Originally, I wanted to read it because I love John Green and Maureen Johnson, though I’d never read any of Lauren Myracle’s work.
I knew the book would be broken up into three short stories, so that didn’t catch me by surprise, but I was a little shocked at how much I enjoyed some aspects of the book. I expected it to be fluffy, romantic, and packed with snow, which was exactly what I needed to de-stress during the holidays, and this book did not disappoint. I didn’t find it to be overly mushy, which made me happy, though it was a little mushy, as is to be expected from a book by three YA authors set in a small town on Christmas.
Johnson’s story was probably my favorite, as I enjoyed her characters the most. Prior to this, I’d read her Shades of London series, and I liked the characters she presented in this story as much as I liked those characters, most likely because they were quirky and relatable. After I’d finished her piece, I was left wishing it were an entire book, and I considered rereading her section again after I finished the book, because it just made me happy.
I also enjoyed John Green’s story, because it was chock full of wit and intelligent dialogue. Unfortunately, I didn’t like the story as much because it was all about their adventure in the blizzard. Of course, I’ve never been inclined to do adventurous things like that, but I also had trouble with it because it wasn’t as developed as most of his stories are. Obviously, if it were an entire book, it probably would’ve been better, but I didn’t feel like I got to know enough about the characters to truly enjoy their story. However, when I looked at it independent of its author, it was a pretty good story, and I couldn’t expect more from someone who does so well with backstory, as he was given about a hundred pages for his entire installment.
Before I got this book, I’d never heard of Lauren Myracle, and I wasn’t sure that I’d like her writing, but I figured if she was cool enough to have written a book with these other amazing authors, she had to be worth my time. Unfortunately, hers was my least favorite story. The main character was easy to hate, but that was fine; you weren’t supposed to like her. The other characters, though, were more difficult to like than they should’ve been. They all seemed stereotypical and forced, and I didn’t really find myself connecting with any of them. The story wasn’t altogether unpleasant; I liked the pig, and I enjoyed the ending, because everyone came together, but I was underwhelmed with it in general.
As a whole, I enjoyed this book. I liked some parts more than others, but I appreciate even the parts that I didn’t enjoy as much because they all came together in the end to make a cute narrative. Some readers may not like the book because it has less substance than other books by these writers, but I didn’t mind it, because that’s not what I expected from this book and not what I hoped to get out of it. I don’t know that I’d read this book again right away, but I’d certainly recommend it for anyone looking for something light to read during the holidays.