Monday, December 12, 2011

The Christmas Cookie Club by Ann Pearlman

In The Christmas Cookie Club, Marnie and twelve of her girlfriends get together to exchange cookies just before Christmas. Through their interactions at the party, we learn about the women and their loved ones. We see their love and caring as well as their squabbles and troubles.

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.


  1. The idea sounds fun, but maybe the book kept too close to what you may expect in real life? That would make it a bit boring, probably. Sometimes you need that extra special something to make a book interesting. I do like the idea of this book, though.

  2. If I remember correctly, I bought this book for the library but then didn't like it much when it arrived. Sometimes the pretty pictures and the idea of the story are better than the real thing.


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