I ordered this book thinking it would be a sweet Christmas story of friends. I was disappointed with the foul language and immorality. I was glancing through it and did not even read it. Big disappointment.
I bought this book at the dollar store thinking it was a Christmas cookie cookbook. I was happy to find I had bought a novel and even happier when I started reading it and discovered it was a good story. There are some sad parts, but that is how life is. The history of common ingredients was interesting, the stories of each member of the cookie club rich and very real. I was already planning on planning a cookie exchange before I bought this book and now I have some really good ideas. If you are interested in cooking and stories about strong, but flawed and realistic women, you will enjoy this book. I can't wait to try some of the recipes.
This book looked like it might make a nice book to give as a Christmas gift to some friends with whom I have done cookie exchanges. I am glad I read it before buying it for them.
Not that it's a bad book; --it was a good book. But the story is a bit depressing at times as the characters' lives (past and present) are recapped. Some folks may appreciate the deep focus on love and friendship, perservering through years full of both happy events and difficult times. I just personally prefer lighter reading to give for gifts at Christmas time.
Tucked in between chapters are cookie recipes, and also interesting information (history, health benefits, etc.) about common cookie ingredients like flour, salt, sugar, chocolate, nuts, cinnamon, ginger.
It's a good book. I would make sure you read it first to know if you would find it an appropriate gift for someone else though.
On the first Monday in October the Supreme Court begins a new session. After a long summer away, the Supremes regroup to hear an array of cases hand selected by the jurists. And while the individual Supremes change over the years, the traditions and rules march on. On the first Monday in December The Christmas cookie club holds its annual party. After a year spent pondering what to make, the cookie members rejoin to share the specially chosen cookies and their stories. And while individual members come and go, the traditions (e.g. no chocolate chip or bar cookies) and the party continues.
As Marnie, the leader of the Christmas cookie club explains:
Twelve of us gather with thirteen dozen cookies wrapped in packages. Homemade of course . . . .
We take turns telling the story of the cookie we have made. Somehow each story is always emblematic of the year. We pass out our packages and donate the thirteenth dozen to our local hospice . . . .
The Christmas cookie club is about giving, not just the yummy morsels we share with our girlfriends and our families but also with people we don't know who are having a bleak time and might appreciate a wrapped sweet.
Each chapter in The Christmas Cookie Club by Ann Pearlman is devoted to one of the twelve club members. The chapters start with a cookie recipe followed by an adversity the woman faced during the year and concludes with a brief history of a cookie ingredient used in the recipe, such as flour, almonds, cinnamon, etc. While this layout is unusual it makes for a rich novel on three levels: interesting recipes; compelling fiction; and fascinating non-fiction.
My main criticism of the novel is that by focusing on a chapter on each member it is often confusing to keep track of twelve different plotlines. Also, because of the need to shift to the next character's story, I did not bond with any of the characters apart from the narrator Marnie who shares each woman's story. In addition, some readers may be offended by the strong profanity used in parts of the novel. While other readers looking for light seasonal fare may be troubled by the serious issues the women face (e.g. death, infidelity, financial disaster, cancer, betrayal).
Overall, The Christmas Cookie Club captures the true spirit of the season: the importance of good friends and family to see one through life's trials and rejoice in the blessings.
Publisher: Atria (October 20, 2009), 288 pages
Advance Review Copy Provided Courtesy of the Publisher.
I enjoyed this book. Not so much for the story line, but for the history of the ingredients and the info about each cookie. The story is about 12 women who meet each year to exchange Christmas Cookies, about the cookie they created and why, and about an ingredient they used in the recipe for their cookie. I actually made the first five recipes and they were delicious. I plan on making the last seven sooner than later. If you love stories about women and cooking than you'll enjoy this one.