26 December 2014

Welcome Back, GRT!

The Christmas Turkeys and Other Misadventures of the Season, Gerald R. Toner
It's been over ten years since I found Toner's first book of Christmas stories, Lipstick Like Lindsay's, misfiled in a used book store, and promptly went out to find his other two books, Holly Day's Cafe and Whittlesworth Comes to Christmas. I hadn't seen anything else by him for years, and then by accident discovered he had a fourth book of Christmas stories out.

Again, Toner doesn't write stories where magical figures like elves or angels come out to solve everyone's problems, or religious-themed fiction where faith holds sway. His stories are about everyday people facing everyday Christmas issues: two men who volunteer each year to distribute Christmas baskets, the couple who have restored their grand old Victorian house in a now-swank neighborhood with one eyesore holdout who throw a Christmas open house, the young man who takes a job in a home for the elderly just to make money for the holidays, a man who goes out looking for his homebound-for-Christmas daughter in a snowstorm, and more. Some will make you sniffle, some will make you laugh (I particularly enjoyed the ending of a story about two business rivals trying to outdo each other with Christmas charity), all are down-to-earth, folks you might live next door to or meet in church or in the supermarket. If you want a good Christmas read, you couldn't do any better than to check out any of Gerald Toner's books.

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