Monday, December 12, 2011
The Christmas Cookie Club by Ann Pearlman
I'll cut right to the chase. This wasn't my favourite book. Well, I enjoyed parts of it, but others, not so much. With the exception of the prologue, which I'll get to in a minute, it started off really good. I liked the staggered introduction of the characters and that it was all written from Marnie's point of view.
I liked that each chapter was preceded by a cookie recipe and featured one of the club members. I liked that cookie recipes were included at the beginning of each chapter. Who doesn't love cookies? I love to bake and I'm always looking for new recipes to try. However, having them scattered throughout the book makes them hard to find, especially since there's no index or table of contents. Most of them looked delicious, though, so I might end up scanning them in and keeping them with my cookbooks. I was a little disappointed that many of the recipes contained nuts. I really like nuts, but I also like variety. I suppose this happens in real cookie swapping groups as well. (I'm surprised they didn't try to somehow make a rule about that.)
I loved that each chapter finished off with a section about an ingredient: butter, cinnamon, chocolate, salt, etc. These were extremely interesting. It was neat that they, too, were written from Marnie's point of view, but it really wasn't necessary. It's not like they fit in the storyline.
As for the prologue (See? I told you I'd eventually get back to it), I didn't like that the rules were presented at the beginning. They sounded a little harsh and not that much fun. I understand that in order for the group to work the members have to be committed and follow some rules, but if someone had approached me with this list of rules and asked me to join the club, I would have walked away. Don't get me wrong, it's not that I don't like rules. In fact, I'm a rule follower. Perhaps if these rules had been presented at the end of the book, after I had read the story, they might not have seemed so jarring.
All of the characters were okay, but I didn't really connect with any of them. I think I mostly kept track of who was who, but I may have mixed them up a few times, with the exception of Marnie, the narrator. I don't think it really mattered that much.
Most of the women's stories were also okay, but nothing spectacular. The one bright spot in the stories for me was Sissy's story about her son, Aaron. I don't know why it stuck out above the others, but I was quite taken with it. The story line about Sky, Marnie's daughter, was too drawn out. I know it was done to prolong the suspense, but I didn't think it was realistic. One of them should have called the other instead of waiting for hours without word, especially with such important news.
Overall, it's a good premise, but it missed the mark with me. Others might like it, though.
For more information about this book, please visit Simon & Schuster's website.
I'd like to thank those nice people at Simon & Schuster for this review copy. Sorry it took me so long to get to it.
The Christmas Cookie Club by Ann Pearlman, Atria Books (Simon & Schuster) ©2011. ISBN 9781439158845(Hardcover), 270p.