Monday, December 21, 2009


Dear Great Book Guru, I have just finished my last exam after my first semester in law school and I have three weeks to read whatever I want. Do you have something to get me started on my reading marathon? Legal Lizzie

Dear Legal, I hope your exams went well and yes, I have a wonderful book for you- MR. IVES' CHRISTMAS by Oscar Hijuelos. When we first meet Mr. Ives it is 1954, he is a successful New York businessman in a loving marriage with two adored children. He is deeply religious and, as Charles Dickens would say "a man who knew how to keep Christmas." Shortly into the book tragedy befalls Ives with the murder of his seventeen- year- old son on Christmas morning. The rest of the book deals with Ives's struggle to find spiritual peace after this devastating loss. While this might seem like a strange choice for holiday reading, there is something wonderfully comforting and uplifting about this book. Perhaps it is Ives's gradual transformation from a hollow grieving man to a gloriously forgiving redemptive figure. In some ways this can be seen as a contemporary version of THE CHRISTMAS CAROL, except, of course, Ives, unlike Scrooge, was always a good man . In this novel we also see New York City undergo a similar transformation from the gritty 50's to the present. You will find yourself thinking over and over about Mr. Ives and his journey .

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