I bought this book.
"The Christmas Cookie Club" by Ann Pearlman (Website | Facebook | Twitter)is a short fictional novel which takes place on one December evening. The event is the annual Christmas Cookie party where twelve women exchange cookies and donate some for charity. Each cookie delivery comes with a story, a recipe and a few historical facts about the ingredients. The host of the event is Marnie, who started the club, created the rules and has had a complex life herself.
Even though each chapter in "The Christmas Cookie Club" is supposed to be about the woman presenting the cookies, it isn't since we hear the story through Marnie's ears and are privy to her thoughts. So basically Marnie goes on tangents, as we all do from time to time, when a word or a phrase reminds her of another event. This is a short novel which in turn is divided into twelve short stories. There are many characters but I didn't get vested in any of them and the narration is mainly done by Marnie. We find out about the ups and downs of the lives of these women, with some insightful comments which get lost somewhere in the narration.
I found this book a bit convoluted, but not hard to read. The many characters were not easy to keep track of, especially since their spouses, parents and children were all part of the interwoven story. I have to admit that the characters are personable and likeable (mostly) and each story is delivered passionately but due to the circumstances, where each woman has a tragic occurrence or a secret, the über-drama seems to take over from time to time.
For me, melodrama only works if I can make and emotional connection with the character, but because Ann Perlman was trying to keep the book to a reasonable size (or even short) the depth and exploration of character wasn't there.
At the beginning of every chapter there is a cookie recipe and at the end Ms. Pearlman wrote a short history of some ingredient (chocolate, salt, etc.). I think that the recipes and the historical information were certainly a nice touch, if you don't like it then skip over them since they are in between chapters. I don't know why people complain about them taking away from the story since they are not part of the story in the first place — nor do they add any insights or information — they are "extras" and should be treated as such. Maybe if they were included as appendices less people would have complained but as I said, I thought it was properly done and a nice touch.
Every Christmas thirteen women come together to celebrate the season, each brings a beautifully wrapped homemade cookies which will get donated to charity. This year it is Marnie’s turn and together with the dessert and a bottle of wine their stories come out along with the baked goods.
This isn’t a good year for Marnie, her daughter pregnancy is risky, Jeannie’s father is massing around with her best friend, Rosie’s and her husband have disagreements about children which can ruin their marriage and Taylor’s life is a financial mass.
This evening the ladies let it all out, their conflicts, passion and disillusionment with their lives and relationships all come out along with the joys and fears.
Please keep in mind, that as a man, chick-lit usually doesn't speak to me.
For example I find it ridiculous that one moment everyone is in tears and the next a "dance party" breaks out.
Does this really happen?
Do women really dance around the kitchen table like they are in some kind of Nora Ephron movie?
If this really happens, good for you and more power.
Zohar — Man of la Book
- 12 Days of Christmas Cookie Recipes: Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies (blisstree.com)
- "5 Must-Make Christmas Cookie Recipes" and related posts (bakingbites.com)
- Cookie Exchange Party Ideas and Cookie Recipe Ideas (greenwala.com)
- Free Cookies for Christmas Ebook (thehappyhousewife.com)