"THE SNOW ANGEL," by Glenn Beck with Nicole Baart, Threshold Editions, $21, 288 pages (f)
Glenn Beck has discovered his feminine side, and her name is Nicole Baart. She is the co-author, with Beck, of the quietly moving new Christmas book “The Snow Angel.” This book charts new literary territory for Beck, who is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and it’s clear early and often that his decision to co-write with Baart has resulted in a more richly told and poignant novel. Beck’s last holiday-themed novel from 2008, “The Christmas Sweater,” felt more biographical; raw even, as it recounted a 12-year-old boy’s discovery of parental sacrifice at Christmastime.
“The Snow Angel” tells the story of Rachel, a woman stuck in a loveless, abusive marriage. Her singular joy in life is Lily, her 11-year-old daughter. Raised by an uninterested, alcoholic mother and a good but faltering and harried father, Rachel is bereft of any real hope. Her mother died driving into a tree and Rachel hasn’t seen her father, Mitch, in years.
Unbeknownst to his daughter, Mitch is in a nursing home not far from where Rachel lives, lost in the tragic and deepening fog of Alzheimer’s. One of the best parts of “Angel” is the changing points of view that Beck and Baart employ to tell the story. At times, we are inside Rachel’s head as she struggles to believe in anything. We then switch to Mitch’s perspective and his yearning to remember who he is and to whom he belongs. Such an approach adds a fine vitality to the story and is expertly handled.
Amid the seeming blizzard of Christmas books that arrive en masse each year, “The Snow Angel” stands out. It’s a deeply personal story, shimmering with the fragile hope that Christmas stirs within us. Hope for forgiveness, for redemptionand in our yearning to be known. Time spent reading “The Snow Angel” will be time richly rewarded.
Scott Livingston blogs about the uphill climb of becoming a writer at sleye1stories.com.