KEEPING CHRISTMAS: Stories of the Joyous Season by Phyllis R.--Ed. Fenner

KEEPING CHRISTMAS: Stories of the Joyous Season

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A carefully eclectic collection which, set before teenagers of definite tastes, is not really likely to please anyone. Three of the ten stories--by Jack Schaefer, William Chamberlain, and Olaf Ruhnen--are the sort of hard-boiled, sentimental yarns that once might have appeared in a December issue of the Saturday Evening Post; they are set, respectively, on a ranch in a blinding storm, on the European front in World War II, and on an Australian cattle-station during a flood--in each case, of course, on Christmas Eve. Pearl Buck's ""Christmas Day in the Morning"" is pure sermonizing, an old man's recognition that ""love alone could waken love,"" while the sci-fi slot is filled by Gordon Dickson's story of a six-year-old's tender gift to an aquaceous other-worldling (and its fateful consequences). On home grounds, B. J. Chute depicts a tomboy's reluctant yearning for a doll; Irene Kampen whips up some froth about a Christmas-card mixup, a widowed mother, and an old/new beau; and--in the most substantial of the three--Ernest Buckler portrays a boy's resistance to a stolid, unexciting stepfather--and his recognition, on yet another stormy Christmas Eve, that the man has spirit and imagination too. (But it too concludes, out-datedly: ""Now, at last, with the man and the boy disputing with the woman the wisdom of a gun for the boy, we are a family."") Also present are Betty Smith's Francie (in an excerpt, of course, from A Tree Grows in Brooklyn) and Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot (spending an old-fashioned Christmas in the English countryside). More triumphs over adversity than Christmas jollity overall, another reason the book isn't likely to spread universal joy.

Pub Date: Aug. 29th, 1979
Publisher: Morrow