Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Christmas Letters by Lee Smith

It all begins with Birdie Pickett’s first Christmas letter in 1944.  A lonely young war bride, Birdie is far from home and taking care of a new baby while her husband is fighting overseas.  At Christmastime, she writes home to her family about the joys and sorrows of her new life, and—being a wonderful cook—includes a recipe.  As her life changes and her children grown up, Birdie continues to write gossipy letters to her family and friends every holiday season.

Birdie’s daughter, Mary takes on the Christmas letter tradition—recipes and all—when she leaves college in the 1960’s to start a family of her own. Like her mother, she goes from poverty to prosperity, but she loses herself—and her marriage—along the way.

Finally, in the 1990’s, Mary’s daughter, Melanie, pours over the letters and lives of the women who came before herm and writes her first Christmas letter.

I can’t say that I highly recommend this book.  It was only 125 pages—I think too much happening in too short a time.  It didn’t seem to go anywhere, it fell kind or flat.  The last chapter (letter) written by Melanie seemed to be an advertisement or teaser for a book to come, but as far as I can tell, Ms. Smith has not written anything with the outline given in that letter.  In all, nothing special, and none of the recipes were all that special either! I would, however try another book by this author.

3 stars (Rated G)

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