Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Paper Bag Christmas by Kevin Alan Milne

The Paper Bag Christmas: a Novel by Kevin Alan Milne

I haven't read a lot of holiday themed adult books in my time, but this was truly one of the best books I've ever read- holiday inspired or otherwise. I laughed, I cried, and I will never be the same again. Truly, this is a book that is small in size, but what it lacks in page quantity it makes up in quality. Oh my goodness was this ever beautifully written!

The Paper Bag Christmas is all about learning to be grateful for what you have, and about enjoying the opportunities that God (or life, if you will) gives you. Written to be an inspirational Christmas book, the idea the author was looking to get across is that you can both give and receive joy not just at Christmas but throughout the entire year through all the simple things life has to offer. Every little thing comes back to you in some form or another, and we shouldn't just look to Christmas as the time to be kind and generous to those around us. Likewise, we shouldn't expect everything we c0uld possibly hope for and more just because it's Christmas. Christmas isn't a time to be greedy, it's a time to share and to love. It's a time to care and to believe. It's a time to hope and be filled with joy- no matter your age, health, nationality, or religion.

Mo and Aaron are brothers who have outgrown the idea of Santa. At their father's prompting, however, they go to the mall the day after Thanksgiving to see Santa and share their holiday wish list with him. Only, what they don't know is that their father has something more in store for them than just a quick one on one with Santa. What he has in mind is something that will change the entire way Mo and Aaron look at Santa, Christmas, and the world around them as a whole.

When they agree to fill the one time roll of Santa's helpers, they don't know that they're going to be playing elves in a children's cancer hospital ward. They have no idea that they'll be used to draw out some of the hospital's most reclusive patients or that they'll single handly have a part in helping to make some of those patients most genuine Christmas wishes come true.

A mesmerizing, endearing story that will make you consider your own place in life and be grateful for all that you've been given, The Paper Bag Christmas is a magical book that should and can be read over and over again. And it needn't be only brought out at Christmas time, though it will undoubtedly get you in the holiday spirit. The Paper Bag Christmas is an honest to goodness great read no matter the time of year, and I dare anyone to read it and not find their own heart, no matter how soft it already is, soften just a bit. If this book doesn't make you think and pull at your heart strings then I don't know what to say.

This is a book that will remain in my prized collection for all time. I can see myself reading this each year as the holidays roll around, and next year I intend to take some friends and family members along with me on this incredible joyous ride.

Milne has done an incredible job on this, his first novel, and I am all too eager to see what else he might have to share in the near future. Seriously, my one and only complaint about The Paper Bag Christmas is that the soft creme color cover easily smudges with dirty finger prints you didn't even know you had. hehe Yep, that's the worst thing I have to say about this book.

If this sounds like something you'd enjoy reading, you simply must check out the first chapter excerpt here.

Curious to learn what inspired the author to write this touching novel? Click here to see what he had to say.

If you and your reading group are looking to select this book as your post holiday read, or even to read for next year, you can find a reading guide here.

Thanks so much to Miriam at Hachette for this incredible review opportunity. The book was amazing, and I am thrilled to have been given this chance to share my thoughts with the world on this truly remarkable read.

~Bookish Mom, aka RebekahC

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