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Book review: 'The 13th Day of Christmas' is an emotional read

By Shelby Scoffield

For the Deseret News

Published: Saturday, Nov. 24 2012 1:55 p.m. MST

"THE 13th DAY OF CHRISTMAS," by Jason F. Wright, Shadow Mountain, $17.99, 238 pages (f)

“The 13th Day of Christmas” by Jason F. Wright is a sentimental novel. Though a little over the top, it is an emotional read that will touch the reader's heart.

Charlee Alexander is an 8-year-old girl who has an optimistic view of life. Because of financial problems, her family has to move to an unflattering trailer park. Despite the tension this causes in the home, Charlee is determined to make the best of her new situation.

Charlee sets out to make new friends in her new community. She eventually meets a 72-year-old widow named Marva Ferguson. The two instantly form a relationship. Charlee loves to visit Marva and listen to stories about her past. The two become inseparable.

As the Thanksgiving season approaches, Marva invites Charlee’s family over to her home for the traditional feast. Charlee is anxious for Thanksgiving to arrive and eagerly helps Marva in her preparations.

During the Thanksgiving meal, Charlee becomes ill and her family has to take her to the hospital. After running multiple tests, doctors discover that Charlee has a brain tumor. The blow to her family is severe. They can barely afford to keep food on the table. How will they pay the doctor and hospital bills?

Shortly after Charlee’s diagnosis, Marva is also diagnosed with cancer. The two are placed in adjoining rooms in the hospital. The friends eagerly count down the days until Christmas. While they are being treated, Charlee starts to receive gifts that reveal the hidden story behind the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” Is there a 13th day of Christmas? Will these gifts help Charlee to heal quickly and return home in time for Christmas?

While it is a sweet story, “The 13th Day of Christmas” is an easily predicable book.

However, it certainly does prompt reflection Christmas traditions. Perhaps this book might inspire some new traditions to be made as well.

Wright is the author of the well-known series "The Christmas Jars."

All in all, “The 13th Day of Christmas” is a quick read. It could also be read as a family. It is certainly a reminder of the true meaning of Christmas.

Shelby Scoffield is a graduate of Brigham Young University and a graduate student at California State University, Stanislaus.

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