There are several reasons that this book is a stand out for me. The first reason is the simple fact that I grew up listening to my mother read me this book every year at Christmas. Now I have the privilege of reading it each year to my own children. Someday I hope they will read it to their own children.
This is not a fluffy, happy-go-lucky Christmas story. It is a bitter-sweet tale of a young girl who despite all that she has is sick and spends most of her time in bed. Her parents are rich and after all efforts to find a cure fail they have turned her room into a fairy land for a sick child. Despite her illness and her money she has developed a caring heart and a love for others. All of these make it a wonderful story and a great story of character during adversity.
Next is the message that others can learn to care and that caring for others is something that doesn’t have to be restricted to the Christmas season. You see her brothers learn to be better men in their care for their sister and her uncle vow to carry on her projects.
There are some very memorable scenes in the story but I don’t want to share too much. I will warn you this book should only be read with a box of tissues on hand. I never fail to cry through out the story. And knowing the ending doesn’t make it easier to get through. In some ways it is actually harder because you know where all of this is going. But despite the sadness the story is full of great humor and rich language. The funniest chapter entails the poor mother getting her children dressed and mannered so that they are ready to go forth without giving the family a bad name. The chapter is written in her vernacular which adds even more richness to the story even when you are stumbling a bit over her wording.
I am now reading my second copy of the book picked up a used book sale. The original sits on my shelf. The original copy was the one given to my mother by one of her best friends who tragically also died young. This copy was printed during World War II and states that it was printed using materials that didn’t take away from the war effort. The flyleaf contains the gifting information to my mother. It was really starting to fall apart and I was so happy to find another copy.
I’m not sure it is currently in print but Amazon currently has a free version that can be read on a Kindle or with a Kindle app. But if you can find a print copy I think this is one of the special stories you will want to pick up and hang on too.