Friday, February 13, 2009

Book Review: The Christmas Sweater by Glenn Beck

Status: No new developments in the agent hunt. Waiting is so *hard*!
What I'm listening to: "Love Profusion" by Madonna

Another of the "adult" books (meaning not for kids or young adults) I've read recently is The Christmas Sweater by Glenn Beck.

Glenn Beck is a talk show host and also has a program on Fox News (that I can't seem to catch since I don't know what time it airs). I like listening to Glenn in moderate doses--his passion can sometimes be draining. And since I listen to him, I for sure wanted to check out his book. I wondered if he was a decent writer, too.

Product Description:

If You Could Change Your Life by Reversing Your Biggest Regrets, Sorrows and Mistakes...Would You?

We weren't wealthy, we weren't poor -- we just were. We never wanted for anything, except maybe more time together....

When Eddie was twelve years old, all he wanted for Christmas was a bike. Although his life had gotten harder -- and money tighter -- since his father died and the family bakery closed...Eddie dreamed that somehow his mother would find a way to have his dream bike gleaming beside their modest Christmas tree that magical morning.

What he got from her instead was a sweater. "A stupid, handmade, ugly sweater" that young Eddie left in a crumpled ball in the corner of his room.

Scarred deeply by the realization that kids don't always get what they want, and too young to understand that he already owned life's most valuable treasures, that Christmas morning was the beginning of Eddie's dark and painful journey on the road to manhood. It will take wrestling with himself, his faith, and his family -- and the guidance of a mysterious neighbor named Russell -- to help Eddie find his path through the storm clouds of life and finally see the real significance of that simple gift his mother had crafted by hand with love in her heart.

Based on a deeply personal true story, The Christmas Sweater is a warm and poignant tale of family, faith and forgiveness that offers us a glimpse of our own lives -- while also making us question if we really know what's most important in them.

I don't want to make you wait too long to find out if Beck is a decent writer, so the answer is: I don't know. The Christmas Sweater was a collaborative effort with Jason Wright (author of bestsellers like The Wednesday Letters and Christmas Jars), which means that Glenn Beck probably told the story and Wright wrote it--and we already know Wright can write. *Ha ha--author's pun**

Whether or not Beck can write well, I liked the book--for the most part. It dealt with some of those life moments that we all have when we're stubborn, angry turds. And in a parable-type way it taught some life lessons that I think would be good for people to learn. That being said, I hated the ending.

So, Mr. Beck, when you read my review, understand that I think you took the easy, wimpy way out in the last chapter. The story would have been so much more powerful if you hadn't done that gimmick. *smack you in the head* And it makes other authors want to rip their hair out (and I've talked to other authors that felt like doing that). I would recommend this book to anyone, and have thought of sending copies to friends. But if you read it, skip the last chapter. No, don't peek. Just trust me.

You can find out more about Glenn Beck on his radio program website and can order The Christmas Sweater on (where there's also an interview with Glenn Beck you can watch) or at other bookstores.


Jason Wright said...

Jaime, I am going to make your day with a little unknown nugget. That ending was NOT what Glenn and I wrote. It was a change the publisher INSISTED on. I assure you Glenn and I preferred the ending we delivered to them. What we wrote was NOT the easy way out by any stretch. It was tough and real and moving. But alas, publishers often win those arguments...

Nevertheless, thanks for the kind words! ;)

Anonymous said...

We just read THE CHRISTMAS SWEATER for our book group. 2 out of the 8 were "relieved" in regards to the ending. The rest thought it was a cop-out. But they are a mix of writers and astute readers. I'm sure the average Joe was fine with it. Very interesting about the publisher!

Anonymous said...

Wow, way to fight for your artistic integrity there Jason! LOL But then I guess when you sign up to ghostwrite manipulative trash for Glenn Beck you checked your artistic integrity at the door. Enjoy your money.

Anonymous said...

"Wow, way to fight for your artistic integrity there Jason! LOL But then I guess when you sign up to ghostwrite manipulative trash for Glenn Beck you checked your artistic integrity at the door. Enjoy your money."

Woo-boy, the bitter envy almost literally drips off of that posting; better to have had artistic integrity and have sold it, then to have never had any integrity - artistic or otherwise - in the first place. Perhaps Santa will bring some this year for this envious little schmuck.

Anonymous said...

I just received my 2nd copy of THE CHRISTMAS SWEATER in as many years from my sisterter-in-law. Last year, I read it; this year I am thinking of sending it back to her with a mean little note. It will be 2 years in February that my son died. I cannot figure out if she is trying to tell me "Well, golly gee, life just isn't that bad" or if she is totally oblivious to what it feels like to lose a child, or someone else who is truly dear to your heart. Anyways, my advice, if you are a bereaved parent, Do not read The Christmas Sweater!! Never, never read The Christmas Sweater. I have some other choice words which I will not add. The last chapter is truly sheep fodder.