Skipping Christmas Summary
by John Grisham

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Skipping Christmas

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

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Luther had persuaded his wife to do without Christmas that year. Their only daughter was away in the Peace Corps, so he and Nora would take a Caribbean cruise. An accountant, Luther calculated that the cruise would cost less than what they usually spent during the season. Why bother sending cards to people you hardly knew just because you knew they would do the same to you? Why elbow through malls buying presents that people didn't want? Why host the big Christmas Eve bash he had come to dread just because his guests had come to expect invitations? Most of all, why drag the big, plastic Frosty the Snowman down from the attic and install him on the roof just because Luther did it every year and every other house on the block would have one?

Though the Kranks didn't tell their daughter about these plans, the decision confused acquaintances and caused anguish in the neighborhood. Luther remained steadfast. But Nora almost succumbed a number of times. Temptation came in the form of Boy Scouts, expecting her--as in previous years--to buy one of their fir trees. It came disguised as firemen at the door selling holiday fruitcakes and policemen selling calendars. Luther sent everyone away, explaining that the Kranks weren't doing Christmas that year.

Then--despite the tans Luther and the more reluctant Nora had carefully acquired, despite the dieting, and especially despite the fact that Luther had elected not to purchase trip-cancellation insurance--Blair called on December 24th. She was in Miami, she had her new Peruvian doctor fiance in tow, and she was coming home for Christmas. Luther listened in horror as Nora exclaimed, yes, of course, they were having the party that night, and yes, of course, there were lots of presents under the tree, and yes, of course, Frosty was up there on the roof.

Everything Luther had planned to avoid, he now had to accomplish in just a few hours. To say more would be giving the laughs away. This book's charm is in its details; even the stereotypes have stereotypes. In the flurry of trying to create Christmas on a deadline, the story takes a turn that may start some readers thinking about the true meaning of Christmas. Others may think it overly sentimental. But everyone is likely to come away from this book tempted to try and skip Christmas, at least once. For sure, Grisham tells readers, it will be very hard to do.