A Poll: What should Ruby review in December?

Ah, October.  The leaves start to change, there’s a nip in the air.  On Christian talk radio, I’m hearing the first stirrings of the annual War on Christmas.  (I don’t know why they even bother.  We always win.)

And I have made a wondrous purchase from a secondhand bookstore: a lovely hardcover edition of ‘Twas the Night Before: A Love Story, by Jerry Jenkins.

The story, from what I can gather, concerns one Noelle Wright, a grown woman who still believes in Santa (no, really) and who is apparently the Ms. Right (O I C WUT U DID THAR, JERRY JENKINS) of one Tom Douten (O I ALSO C WUT U DID THAR) who, um, doesn’t believe in Santa.  Possibly because he successfully passed his seventh birthday.

Which got me to thinking.  Maybe I should do something a little bit different, a little bit festive, for Christmas Wintermas this year.  Maybe review this short novel in one month?

So I figured I would ask for your input, my loyal readers.  Since September and October are very busy months for me, there’s no way I will be done with Soon by December.  Should I go on with Soon or take a Wintermas break and review Twas the Night?

Do you care???  Vote below!

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Posted on October 1, 2011, in Books, Christmas, Soon. Bookmark the permalink. 37 Comments.

  1. As fun as the Soon reports are, I think I want to hear about Twas the Night Before. I suppose part of it is I read Soon and never had heard of Twas the Night Before before, although that is insensitive to those who have not read Soon and are eager to hear more of your dissection of it. Still, I think we can all agree on the thematic appropriateness of a Christmas story. Either way, I probably will like your choice.

  2. inquisitiveraven

    Considering how long it’s been since your last Soon post, I think you need to take a break and do something different. Although… do you really want to subject yourself to more Jenkins?

  3. I think you should go for whatever you feel like. You’re not getting paid for this: if it ain’t fun, it ain’t worth doing.

  4. What Firedrake said but if you really want my opinion then I want to know how Jenkins envisions an adult woman who is still able to believe in Santa. It’s kind of like literary rubbernecking.

  5. That book sounds awesomely hideous. Like The Room of Christmas stories.

  6. I’m interested. I look forward to watching this woman believing in Santa and probably not realizing that Christmass and Christ have anything to do with one another. And I look forward to watching Jenkins trying to ridicule her believes while we turn them around and make the same point towards Jenkins particular beliefs about that other important christmass figure

  7. chris the cynic

    I wanted to make fun of the names, but, since they’re already on the level of parody, I’m not sure there’s much I can do with them. Anyway, it sounds like an interesting change of pace to me.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy

      I would use the word “Epic Fail Allegorical” rather than “on the level of parody” to describe the names.

      And Jerry Jenkins, GCAAT’s tin ear for character names is already infamous and legendary.

  8. This is the synopsis from Amazon:

    When it comes to Christmas, there are two categories of people in the world: believers and non-believers. Although non-believers will probably never get around to reading this love story by Jerry Jenkins (bestselling co-author of Left Behind: A Novel of the Earth’s Last Days), believers will certainly relish this mystical story that delivers a doubting Thomas to the home of Kriss Kringle. Jenkins’s usual use of high adventure and unpredictable love is at play in this story about Tom Douten, a gritty Chicago journalist, who isn’t afraid to investigate the truth about life in the inner city, and his new lover, Noella, an optimistic writer who believes in Santa. When Jenkins flies to the Black Forest to investigate the “truth” about Santa and dispel Noella’s belief, his plane crashes, killing the pilot and his fellow passenger. Jenkins keeps the story fast-moving in his terse, straightforward style. Nonetheless, he manages to plot an intricate enough course, so that the final revelations are surprising, and as satisfying as plum pudding at the end of a Christmas feast.

    What I’m saying is: Ruby, this book is plainly an early Christmas gift from the universe to you. Review it.

    • Why is a gritty Chicago journalist going to to the Black Forest to tell a woman Santa Claus doesn’t exist?

      Oh, this is gonna be a fun ride.

    • …the truth about life in the inner city….

      Oh, this is gonna be good. Bring it on!

    • Jenkins’s usual use of high adventure and unpredictable love

      “Unpredictable love?” Is that what they’re calling it these days?

      Also:

      When Jenkins flies to the Black Forest to investigate the “truth” about Santa and dispel Noella’s belief, his plane crashes,

      I really don’t want to wish ill on Jenkins, I’m not an eliminationist douchebag. But I’m thinking whomever wrote this copy is not fooled by Jenkins’ Gary Stu GIRAT standin, and may not be so disinclined to wish ill on Jenkins.

      • Unpredictable love = “On the basis of the way these characters have been drawn, it makes no sense at all that they should fall in love”.

        (But I have sat at the feet of the lady who came up with the blurb, for Indistinguishable Fantasy Novel #7723, “comparable to Tolkien at his best”. Yes, she did know exactly what she was doing.)

    • When Jenkins flies to the Black Forest to investigate the “truth” about Santa and dispel Noella’s belief

      That is a beautiful freudian slip. I’m not sure I can take an entire romantic adventure Jenkins style after the horrible treatment he gives romance in Left Behind. On the other hand, I’m sure it will be chock full of unintentional lulz.

  9. “When it comes to Christmas, there are two categories of people in the world: believers and non-believers.” And everyone in catagory B is exactly the same too! And hates catagory A!

    “Although non-believers will probably never get around to reading this love story by Jerry Jenkins…” Well, that’s suprisingly realistic, the fact that Ruby will read it notwithstanding.

    “high adventure and unpredictable love” Standing close to opportunities for adventure, and then resigning to do nothing maybe. Still, the love stories can be considered unpredictable, though I’d prefer the term “unbelievable”

    “a gritty Chicago journalist, who isn’t afraid to investigate the truth” Did Jenkins have a tight deadline before the Christmass release of his book, that he has to recycle his previous author avatar? Seriously, it’s like a Stephen King protagonist, which is also a troubled novelist at least 50% of the time.

    “his plane crashes, killing the pilot and his fellow passenger.” Cause that’s what people are looking for in a whimsical Christmass Love Story: Peaople horribly dying so that our author insert can learn an important lesson. How much you wanna bet at least one of those two is shown to be unsaved, so he’s being tortured in Hell because notBuck needed to believe.

    “Jenkins keeps the story fast-moving in his terse, straightforward style.” BWAHAHAHA. Oh man, shall we make a betting pool on how many pages are taken to describe the logistical preparations of Thomas’s plane ride? I vote for 8 pages.

    “Nonetheless, he manages to plot an intricate enough course, so that the final revelations are surprising,” Well, if Jenkins doesn’t link the believing in Santa in any explicit way to believing in Christ, that’d be pretty suprising. So suprising in fact that I for one don’t believe for a moment that’ll actually happen. I think a Narnia-level transparant allegory is actually the least overt method we can expect. But seeing how little Jenkins trusted his audience in Left Behind to pick up on ‘subtle’ clues (remember the dinner conversion scene, the one time he used an Unreliable Narrator? We switched between Rayford thinking that Buck wasn’t buying it to Buck assuring everyone he was totally buying it, what, 8 times?), smart money says the two sad excuses for characters will be refering to Jesus directly and repeatedly by act 3 at the latest.

    • I think the part that intrigues me most is how, in this book, the airplane pilot dies horribly, while the journalist goes on to be the sole hero who gets the girl and another Pulitzer and also Jesus Claus gives him that baseball glove he always wanted. That’s just gotta be a “screw you” from Jenkins to Tim LaHaye, and it’s WONDERFUL.

      • … I just noticed that.

        Who mourns for Rayforde Steele?

      • I love these lines that you said here, for some reason. I think it’s the Jesus Claus/baseball glove that just puts the cap on a lovely run-on (I love run-on sentences, when they’re cadenced well!) for me. I like these blog comments already and I’ve only read two entries.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy

        I think the part that intrigues me most is how, in this book, the airplane pilot dies horribly, while the journalist goes on to be the sole hero who gets the girl and another Pulitzer and also

        Fee, Fi, Fo, Fum!
        I smell the blood of a Jerry Jenkins Author Self-Insert!

  10. inquisitiveraven

    Oh Ruby, as of 7:22 this morning, the Kindle edition Jerry Jenkins novel The Brotherhood is available for free from Amazon. If you don’t own a Kindle, you can download a free ap for your computer. Just in case you wanted to add it to your future deconstruction list without giving Jenkins any money.

  11. Oh, I know it’s not fair to point and laugh at Amazon reviewers; they’re not professional critics or writers.

    But ohmigod, those reviews are priceless.

    When I buy a Christmas book I usually expect some of the traditional miracles. This usually includes boy finding girl, some sort of tragedy and they find their way back together.
    Huh? Which traditions would those be, exactly?

    Cynical Tom, who champions the working class,
    Well, we know he’s got to be taught a real lesson, don’t we?

    refuses to step into the fantasy world of academia…When they actually meet, he begins to fall in love with the rosy-colored professor
    What kind of body make-up has she been using then? And of course all academics are fantasists; nothing real ever comes out of the ivory tower.

    I think it ranks right up there with O’Henry
    Bite your tongue. And it’s O. Henry, with a period.

    if you’re looking for literature, you have the wrong book.
    Can’t argue with that!

    • The fantasy world of academia? Damnit, this is like that time I had to explain to that one evangelist why my research would benefit humanity. Little pieces make up a big science, it doesn’t have be groundbreaking on its own…

    • “refuses to step into the fantasy world of academia…When they actually meet, he begins to fall in love with the rosy-colored professor”

      What kind of body make-up has she been using then?

      She’s the visiting exchange prof from Barsoom.

    • >>>refuses to step into the fantasy world of academia

      “No! I’ll never become an Inkling! Never!”

  12. I wouldn’t say the secular side always wins regarding the war on Christmas. The AFA has had quite a few successes getting corporations like Wal-Mart, Target, and Home Depot to use the word “Christmas” in their ads. And while I respect your right to celebrate Christmas in any way you like, Ruby, fuck you for being among the extremist liberals who try to secularize holidays in the extreme. (Note that Trey Parker and Matt Stone are agnostics/atheists, but they think that the secularization of Christmas is stupid.)

    • Funny, just a few years ago all the good fundies were complaining that the word “Christmas” was being devalued because unbelievers were using it to refer to their non-Christian celebrations. Do I detect the whiff of a permanent publicity stunt? Why, I think I do.

    • Welcome to Heathen Critique, anonymous person! You are, of course, free to choose a name if you wish. Did you, by chance, happen to get here by Googling “War on Christmas”? Because I have noticed Christian talk radio has been alluding to the pending hostilities over the past week or so. I guess the War on Christmas is like the decorations: out on the shelves long before Halloween.

      You know, all the fun of the War on Christmas is ruined not be “extremist liberals,” but by those who refuse to acknowledge that any other holiday might take place around the time of Christmas. For example, your beloved AFA took great exception to the fact that Solstice is also celebrated at that time.

      As for your reference to Trey Parker and Matt Stone, what makes you think I look to them as authorities as to how to be an atheist? Or are you perhaps a fan of the classic carol “Merry Fucking Christmas”?

    • “And while I respect your right to celebrate Christmas in any way you like”

      I’m sorry, we celebrate Wintermas here.

  13. I’m assuming that in this novel, the wife will be proved right and Santa will turn out to be real, thus turning the story into an allegory for all RTCs who believe in Jesus against all those worldly evil liberals who say he’s make believe . . . except, uh, Santa IS make-believe. No, really, Jerry. Kind of ruins the allegory if what the main character has faith in against aIl odds turns out TO REALLY BE NOT REAL . . . I mean, at least with God you can’t conclusively prove he’s not real . . . the same can’t be said with Santa. Really makes Jenkins look like an idiot . . . seriously. Also, as an RTC shouldn’t be against the idea of Santa even existing as taking the focus off Christmas’s rightful owner, Jesus? Having this book be about, say, the manger story instead of Santa would be a lot less dumb. You’d think at least it would kinda ruin the “Ha, ha, I’m right and you’re wrong” reaction that the readers of the book are going for when even THEY know very well they’re wrong.

  14. Isis-sama, it would be lovely to see some actual reference to the historical Nicholas of Myra… but somehow I don’t expect that that’s going to happen.

    (Incidentally… the Russians are naming one of their new Borei-class SSBNs “Svyatitel Nikolai”, i.e. Nicholas of Myra, i.e. Santa Claus. He travels the world, bringing sparkly presents…)

    I would have thought that an RTC would regard the western Santa Claus figure as a principal component of the secular Christmas that they claim to despise.

  15. Headless Unicorn Guy

    Ah, October. The leaves start to change, there’s a nip in the air. On Christian talk radio, I’m hearing the first stirrings of the annual War on Christmas…

    They’re early. Usually October 1st kicks off the War over Halloween (AKA “The Devil’s Holiday”) and the War on Christmas doesn’t really kick off until November 1st.

    Also, HC, are you sure more ODing on Jerry Jenkins, GCAAT, is such a good idea? The guy’s hackwork is literally PAINFUL to read.

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