Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Christmas List by Richard Paul Harris


Dear Reader,
When I was in seventh grade, my English teacher, Mrs. Johnson, gave our class the intriguing (if somewhat macabre) assignment of writing our own obituaries. Oddly, I don't remember much of what I wrote about my life, but I do remember how I died: in first place on the final lap of the Daytona 500. At the time, I hadn't considered writing as an occupation, a field with a remarkably low on-the-job casualty rate.

What intrigues me most about Mrs. Johnson's assignment is the opportunity she gave us to confront our own legacy. How do we want to be remembered? That question has motivated our species since the beginning of time: from building pyramids to putting our names on skyscrapers.

As I began to write this book, I had two objectives: First, I wanted to explore what could happen if someone read their obituary before they died and saw, firsthand, what the world really thought of them. Their legacy.

Second, I wanted to write a Christmas story of true redemption. One of my family's holiday traditions is to see a local production of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol. I don't know how many times I've seen it (perhaps a dozen), but it still thrills me to see the change that comes over Ebenezer Scrooge as he transforms from a dull, tight-fisted miser into a penitent, "giddy-as-a schoolboy" man with love in his heart. I always leave the show with a smile on my face and a resolve to be a better person. That's what I wanted to share with you, my dear readers, this Christmas — a holiday tale to warm your season, your homes, and your hearts.

Merry Christmas
My thoughts:
This book was a Christmas present two years ago.  At the time I really wanted to read it and I was reading a lot of Christmas books, and then the holiday passed and I guess it ended up on the shelf for longer than I was planning.  I think though that sometimes books come to you when you need them or are ready for them, so it wasn't really forgotten there on the shelf, it was just biding it's time until it was the right read for me for right now.  Maybe that sounds silly, but I know I buy books thinking I can't wait to read them, only to let them sit for months (or years) and then when I pick them up they are just what I was looking for then.

This is the first book I've read by Richard Paul Evans.  I've thought about picking up other titles he has written, but for whatever reason I haven't.  I know I have seen some of the his made for TV movies made from his books like The Christmas Box.

The  main thing I brought away from this book is that it is never too late to do the right thing and that there are more important things in life than money.  I know we all know that, but to have it brought home in a meaningful way is so much better than just spouting platitudes.  James Keir reminded me quite a bit of Scrooge and how his death affected other people.  To get to see what people really thought about you because they believe you have died was a blessing for him because it opened his eyes to his past mistakes and took him on the path of righting the wrongs he had done.  A modern retelling in a new and light. 

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781439150009
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 10/6/2009
Pages: 368

More by this Author

Lost December
Michael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell 25
Miles to Go: The Second Journal of the Walk Series
The Christmas Box
The Christmas Box Collection: The Christmas Box, Timepiece, The Letter


  1. I have a few holiday reads that I seem to never hve time to read during the holiday season. I am hoping to read a few of them this year. I have read The Christmas Box and have seen the movie. I really need to read more of this author. I see he has a new one out this year!

  2. I have read several of this author's works and have always enjoyed them, I am going to look for this one at my library.