01 January 2015

Christmas in New Amsterdam

Santa and Pete: A Novel of Christmas Present and Past, Christopher Moore and Pamela Johnson
First, this is not the Christopher Moore of snark. The gentleman who wrote this little book is relating some of his own family history in writing the story. While ostensibly it is the story of how St. Nicholas and his assistant Peter (known as "Black Peter" in the Netherlands) met, began to travel, and migrated to the new world in time to avert war between the Dutch and the Native people, it is the framing narrative that is the meat of the tale. Young Terence's grandfather, who drives a New York City bus the length of Manhattan, is lonely after the death of his wife, and Terence's parents wish him to learn something of his heritage and his grandfather rather than being self-absorbed, so every Saturday a rather resentful Terence is placed on his grandfather's bus to follow him on his route. Gradually Terence becomes entranced with Grandpa Mann's historical tales and the regulars who take his bus.

There are some liberties taken with the Nicholas/Peter story, since originally the pair delivered gifts on December 5, both in the Netherlands and in New Amsterdam; however it would take away from the narrative to have to divert to explain the date change. While the description says it's the tale of Santa and Pete, it's really the story between Terence and his grandfather and their friends on the bus that carry this sweet story.

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