'Tis the Season...
Thinking about gift books? There has been a lot of buzz about Matchless: A Christmas Story, by Gregory Maguire, which is a reworking of Hans Christian's Andersen's Little Match Girl. I normally wouldn't invest much time in criticism of gift books, but the promise of a new Christmas classic piqued my interest and left me quite disappointed.
Not so much A Christmas Story as a wintertime story set in a Scandinavian country, with only passing references to the holiday to link it any way to the celebration of the Incarnation. The original Little Match Girl was a grim story that made for some traumatic childhood reading, and this is not much of an improvement.
The plot was not believable yet also oddly predictable (our little protagonist's mother marries the match girl's father) and though the ending was technically happier than Andersen's original, I would still have to rate it as pretty much of a bummer. Touted as a "spellbinding gift book"...I just don't see it. If you are looking for a spellbinding Christmas gift book I would suggest, maybe, The Glorious Impossible by Madeleine L'Engle. Now that's a Christmas story.
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