In a fit of inspired insanity, a laid-off suburban father decides to prove to his 9-year-old daughter that there really is a Santa Claus.
Never doubt the determination of a mad scientist and his plans. In this sixth novel from prolific writer and blogger Hazelgrove (The Pitcher, 2013, etc.), the author marries the everyday dramas found in the novels of Tom Perrotta and Nick Hornby to the high camp of Carl Hiaasen or Dave Barry. His protagonist is an aging engineer named George Krononfeldt who is promptly laid off from his firm for his increasingly cranky attitude. Simultaneously, his daughter Megan is slowly being poisoned of her belief in Christmas-y myths by her hateful teacher, Mrs. Worthington. “I will kick Santa squarely in the nuts once and for all,” she proclaims during one of her darker moments. Undetermined, George starts sketching out plans to give his daughter—who has inherited her father’s penchant for requiring empirical data to prove a coherent thesis—one more Christmas miracle. “I’m going to be the Real Santa,” George tells his father, whom he enlists in aid of the outlandish project. “I’m going to land a sled on the roof, go up the chimney, go down it, deliver the gifts, and then I’m going to get back in the sled and take off into the sky.” After spending more than $80,000 building a contraption that would rival a NASA launch and engaging the help of his estranged older son and daughter and a slightly mad Santa impersonator named “Kris Kringgle,” George does indeed take to the skies. It’s not as frenetic as Christopher Moore’s The Stupidest Angel or as maudlin as all those holiday staples (read: A Christmas Story); adults looking for a funny holiday-themed tale that doesn’t lose its sense of wonder in the face of realism will find a treat here.
A lovingly crafted comedy about the madness that fatherhood inspires.