Thursday, February 4, 2010

Skipping Christmas by John Grisham

This is the first novel  I have read from John Grisham and it is one of  his books which tackles a different genre and not his usual legal thriller. Having around 200 pages in medium format  it is soft, entertaining and easy to read especially for a day when you have nothing to do. The title "Skipping Christmas" discloses that the novel has to be some kind of Christmas story. And indeed it is a funny one. Luther and Nora a middle-aged american couple decides that they do not want to celebrate this Christmas also because their daughter Blair have left for South America to teach the indigenous children of Peru. And of course Luther intends to avoid the usual Christmas time spendings: no party, no Christmas tree, no more any useless gifts, no more donations, no shopping, no more any needed house decorating. Luther as an accountant used to crunching numbers estimates that he will  spare 6000 of dollars. First he plays with the thought of spending time on the sunny Carribean shores but in the end  he chooses  a Carribean cruise for the hollidays. His wife is not so entusiast about it but she gives in.
The neighborhood does not undertand and does not accept the out of ordinary decision. They mock Luther and Nora labeling the couple stingy failing to comprehend how can somebody give up Christmas. This book is also a  good example on what happens when someone gives up the herd mentality. I stop here with the depicting and if you are interested check out the novel. Skipping Christmas at Amazon. Because I have read the novel in Hungarian I included the cover of the Hungarian edition titled Elmaradt Karácsony. I still have to mention that in 2003 the book was made into a movie titled Christmas with the Kranks, you can watch online the whole movie  at youtube. I have not seen the movie so I can't comment how good or bad it is.

Skipping Christmas by John Grisham, Hungarian edition

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Shannon's way by A. J. Cronin

In this novel Cronin  tells again the story of a doctor. It is a tale of love, research, religious views, personal tragedies and betrayel. The writer narrating in  first person  makes us acquainted with Robert Shannon a young Catholic doctor in the after-war England. He works as an university research physician but in the meantime he does his own study on an epidemy in the laboratory of his own workplace. Soon he has to leave his job because he is in conflict with the leading professor who can't stand him and wants Shannon to focus on the lab's priority.  Due to this he has to endure hardships and struggles to find a job. He fells in love with Jean Law, but her parents are against this relationship because he is a Roman Catholic and do not share his view on religion. Shannon sais: "Religion is a private affair. We can't help what creed we're born into. It's quite possibile for two people to be tolerant of each other's belief." But her father denies it saying that "She can never commingle with the waters of Babylon". Cronin's novels shows us a world where personal, family or group interests are the most important. The death of the patient is overlooked. The nurse who caused the death by a stupid mistake keeps his job while Shannon is layed off by a commission just because he did experiments in an unused room thus misusing the taxpayers' money. But there are good people like the marginalized professor Challis who supports him even getting him a doctor job  having at his disposal  a good lab for his research. Some novels of A. J. Cronin  do not have a happy ending, I only disclose for the reader that this book has an  open ending with hope in the future. I enjoyed and liked this novel and give it five stars. Found out the ending reading this book!
Check Shannon's Way at Amazon.

Shannon's way by A.J. Cronin