mary's book basket ~ "the great christmas bowl"

I was in need of some comedy after a stressful week with a house full of company. Author Susan May Warren's The Great Christmas Bowl was just the ticket. Here is the synopsis.

Publisher's Description:
"Marianne Wallace is focused on two things this holiday season: planning the greatest family Christmas ever and cheering on her youngest son’s team in their bid for the state championship. Disaster strikes when the team loses their mascot—the Trout. Is it going too far to ask her to don the costume? So what if her husband has also volunteered her to organize the church Christmas tea. When football playoffs start ramping up, the Christmas tea starts falling apart. Then, one by one her children tell her they can’t come home for Christmas. As life starts to unravel, will Marianne remember the true meaning of the holidays?"

I really identified with Marianne. Her whole world is built around being a mother and now that her youngest is a senior in high school, her future is unclear to her. The seasons of her life are changing and she's not quite sure which way to turn with the wind. Her inner conflict is real and Warren does a good job of peeling back the layers of her fear slowly bringing Marianne to the realization that she has a choice on how she responds each time she's faced with a challenge.

"What is the meaning of love anyway?"

Warren's portrayal of small town life filled with quirky personalities is wonderful. The feisty Gretchen, beleaguered Jenni and pious Rachel could fill any pew in any church no matter the denomination. Physical comedy is very hard to write. Warren blends her descriptions and dialogue beautifully to make it all come alive, the humor jumping off the page. The scene's with the trout suit are just too much. Absolutely fabulous!

Her exploration of family relationships is multi-layered and rich. You cheer for Kevin as he leads his team. You worry about Mike with his EMT duties. You want only the best for Marianne and Mike's marriage as it undergoes the growing pains of life. With an It's a Wonderful Life ending The Great Christmas Bowl is a quick delightful read that will make you laugh and bring a tear to your eye.

Happy Reading!