So I was all excited to read A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote aloud to the kids...every review on Amazon.com was all like; "our FAVorite Christmas story EVER!" etc etc..."we know it's Christmas-time when Mom gets this book out and we LOVE this story and we have the best Mom EVER and we are a happier family than you, but you can be like us if only you get this book..." etc etc.
So I got the book. Actually, I didn't get this version (isn't that a lovely illustration by Beth Peck?!) , instead I got "The Complete Stories of Truman Capote" because, you know, it costs the same for the complete works, as it does for 1 tiny little short story...5 pages in my version...
(had I seen the above cover at the time, I would have bought it. Tiny little short and expensive as it is, it's illustrated!) (duh)
And then I read the story. Aloud. To the kids. And my husband. The kids kept wanting to see the pictures, but, there are none, (dumb Mom) save for the one photo of the iconoclastic (I'm trying to be kind here) author on the cover, wearing...um, an outfit unique to the 70's in blue and orange...
And the story is, well, dreadful. I mean it is full of dread. They (the two pictured above) go to buy whiskey for the fruitcakes from a run-down speakeasy known for having had murders there(!) Actual MURDERS. They are afraid, naturally. They are going to pay with hard earned money from killing flies, that past summer. One penny for every 10 they killed. An image of jars filled with crunchy dea... O.K, enough. YOU aren't getting much of a Christmas feel here either, are you?
They do make fruicakes, lots of them...(like 35 or something). They do make Christmas ornaments, and the idea of having to save your gum wrapper to have a bit of foil, is definitely something I'd like my kids to contemplate, but not worry about.
Oh, and did I mention the boy has been abandoned by his parents? ("Mama? Where are his Mommy and Daddy" "Shhhh, just listen to the story, maybe they're coming back...")
Nope. He goes on to military school and that's that.
Anyhow, I liked it well enough, it really is well written and poetic, but a taaaaad on the dark side. (Did I mention their beloved dog gets kicked to death by a farm animal?)
And are we a 'happier, more full-of-the-true-spirit-of-Christmas family' for having read this story?
My husband says we should read them "The Sound and the Fury" next.