Evergreen Tidings From the Baumgartners
I was all set to not like this book. I thought it would be a quick read full of silly, but thought it was just what I needed after reading a serious book. Oh, readers, this is full of surprises. Pleasant surprises. Good surprises. And I surprise myself by already passing on the recommendation to friends to read this one.
Violet Baumgartner has written a Christmas Letter every year for thirty years, ever since she married Dear Ed and thought it was her duty as a new wife. This immediately made me think of the Christmas Letters we’ve received over the years. Letters filled with smiles and pats on the back for all good things that happened during the year. Christmas Letters are the public face of a family, full of twinkly smiles. But for every public face there is a private face and the truth.
Violet is determined to make her family, Dear Ed and daughter Cerise, shine to the outside world. There is nothing she can’t handle, nothing she won’t do, no committee she won’t chair to make her world and the people in it shine.
When we meet Violet she is touting the party of all parties for Dear Ed’s retirement from, God love him, research to make colonoscopies more comfortable for us. At the party Violet receives the news that is definitely going to tarnish the shine and can’t be denied. No smiley public face is going to fix this one. Nothing to do for it but own it. And in owning it Violet needs to discover if she is capable of letting go of some of her control. Now, if you know a control freak, you know this is no easy thing.
Violet’s world is inhabited with sometimes funny but very real people who very much really have to learn to navigate around, through or over her. I found myself laughing at Violet’s view of the world and being grateful I wasn’t in her galaxy.
I absolutely loved this story. I loved that it changed my mind about my preconceived idea that I would give it little of myself. I ended up really loving being a part of Violet’s world. But I still don’t like Christmas Letters.