3 out of 4 stars
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For a lot of kids, sharing Christmas with their birthday might be a dream come true. Twice the presents, right? But for Asher, having his birthday on Christmas isn’t about the presents or the food. It’s the one day every year his mom and dad are together. This year, Asher is hoping for his family to reunite and for the previous year’s disaster with his dad’s new girlfriend not to repeat itself.
Unfortunately for Asher, things don’t go anywhere near how he hopes. Christmas Eve is a mess, and Asher makes Christmas Day just as miserable. When he blows out the candles on his birthday cake, Asher realizes how terrible he’s been and wishes for a chance to make things right. Christmas magic is in the air, and Asher might just get his wish.
As a fan of A Christmas Carol (especially the Muppet version, but I digress), Two Days of Christmas by Ashley Robert grabbed my attention. I have a soft spot for Christmas redemption and second-chance stories, and this definitely sounded like one. Asher rang true as a ten-year-old boy. He obviously loves his mom, comforting her whenever his dad’s mother says or does something nasty. When Asher is pushed too far, he reacts by acting out, which is very believable. I had no trouble going along with the kid-needing-to-learn-a-lesson backdrop to this story.
This book also had some truly adorable moments. The story takes place in Florida, and at one point, the family goes down to the beach for a sand sculpture contest. Two of the little girls decide to make a Santa, which ends up looking a bit demented. Later on, Asher and Judith fall asleep watching a movie, and Judith puts Asher to bed while wishing there was a way to undo all the unpleasantness of her son’s birthday. These moments brought the joyful and sweet holiday story to the forefront.
While I’d say this is, at heart, a tale of the holiday spirit, there was a lot in here that took away from that idea. The book’s description focused primarily on Asher and his second chance. It’s not until chapter 4, though, that this part of the story comes into play. The first three are heavy on the backstory about Judith (Asher’s mom), Alec (his dad), and Alec’s family. Though this book was listed under “other fiction,” I was expecting a children’s story based on the description. Just the first few chapters keep this from being a tale for kids. There’s a lot of drinking and complaining with adult language. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it wasn’t what I thought this book would be, and when we finally do get to Asher, the adult language continues. Adult drama, including fights and passive aggressive comments, also feature heavily, and I was left feeling like I didn’t get the story I was quite promised.
This book could have benefited from another round of edits. There are many cases of missing and misused punctuation, as well as misspelled and missing words. There are also quite a few instances of odd or wrong word choice. When the little girls who made the funny-looking Santa win second prize in the sculpting contest, they say they’re going to use their winnings to buy a pink Ferrari. The narration then says they “obviously had no conception of money.” It seems to me “concept” would have worked better here. A bit later, Alec’s mother orders to be taken “back to the house this instance.” “Instant” would have been the word to use here. This kind of thing happens with some regularity and tended to pull me from the story.
This was very difficult, but after some consideration, I rate Two Days of Christmas 3 out of 4 stars. While the story isn’t what I expected based on the description, there’s nothing wrong with it, even if the family drama felt a bit much to me at times. There were enough cute moments to remind me of the holidays, and I really enjoyed Asher’s character. The poor editing coupled with my expectations almost brought my rating down to 2, but since I feel I shouldn’t detract points based on what I wanted the story to be, I decided on 3. Due to the editing, though, I couldn’t give this 4. As I said, this definitely isn’t a story for kids, due to the language and other things I’ve mentioned. I do recommend this for adults who enjoy holiday stories. If, like me, you aren’t much for family drama, you may wish to skip this one. Otherwise, give this book a chance…or two.
Two Days of Christmas
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