Book Review: The Christmas Cookie Club by Ann Pearlman
Preview… “The Christmas Cookie Club” recounts the interwoven stories of Marnie and eleven of her closest girlfriends. Together they form the cookie club, a holiday institution. Our narrator, Marnie, tells us stories of each woman as she presents—stories of how Marnie first got to know her, stories of the troubles that each woman faces, stories of how she is working to overcome her setbacks. Our friends at the Christmas Cookie Club have all faced some pretty big problems in their day—lost jobs, husbands who are unfaithful or who just don’t want to have any more kids, children who have met their deaths in tragic accidents, daughters encountering a string of miscarriages and still-births or, on the flip side, are pregnant at eighteen thanks to an ex-con, rap superstar wannabe. Heck, 7 out of 12 of them have faced and overcome cancer! The vital element is that they don’t let these setbacks upset the ebb and flow of daily life. They just keep on living, keep on working towards a better life. They are always there for each other, to help each other through.
Largely, this book is about getting to know this delightful circle of friends. It’s about a party, about being entertained. This is why the entertainment value is given 4 stars and the depth of meaning 2. When it comes to life-changing lessons “C3” just couldn’t compete with the like of “Lolita”, “The Cider House Rules” and “Life of Pi”, nor should it. Lessons we do derive from this charming text are that we can make it through anything life throws at us, especially with the help of our girlfriends and that older women have a place in popular fiction.
Pearlman explains, older women are “not a group of people that we pay much attention to, period. I am hoping that the reader reads about the exciting lives these women do have.” The author also wants to let us know that older women can still be beautiful, sexual beings. There is a fun Sex in the City– moment when the chatting friends mention that older women still want sex, it’s just that older men aren’t always physically capable of it—they’re still good to go! Maybe that’s why a couple of the characters in this story take on younger lovers.
This is a great story to read during the holiday season. Not only will you be entertained by the tales told, but you will also garner some yummy cookie recipes and learn about the history of various baking ingredients. If you would like to use the book as a template for your own Christmas cookie club, you can participate in the national cookie club party taking place between Friday December 4 and Tuesday December 8.
You may like this book if… you enjoy glimpses into the lives of others, you like chick-lit and the feeling it gives you of being inside a circle of friends, you like stories that are interwoven with several threads, you like a narrator you feel you can trust, you enjoy reading about strong women, you enjoy reading about women of a certain age, you are looking for a good seasonal read, you are looking for some yummy cookie recipes, you have your own Christmas cookie club or are interested in starting one, you like the idea of little ingredient history lessons interspersed throughout the text
You may not like this book if… you do not like chick-lit period, you want to read a book that does not start out so depressing (even though the mood lightens by the end of the story), you would rather only have 2 or 3 main characters to keep track of, you find it hard to depart from either non-fiction or classics to read a more contemporary story