Child in a Manger: Chapter 6

Allison drops off Joy with the new foster family.

She mopes around the empty house for a bit, then gets a message from the Sheriff’s office that there have been all kinds of toys and clothes and things left for The Child in the Manger.

That’s so sweet.  But…

So many times Allison had resented her community’s outpouring of support for the less fortunate at Christmas because those efforts assumed that people weren’t hungry, lonely or suffering any other time of the year.

Really, Allison?  Really?

This is a bit of a change from Allison’s usual martyr complex.  Now it’s just a good old superiority complex.

I mean, everything else aside, how does Allison know that people aren’t giving to charities at non-Christmas times of the year?  She’s a family case worker, not is charge of all charities in town…or everywhere else.

And how much is she giving outpourings of support for every cause ever…all the time?

Regardless, who the hell is she to pass judgment on everyone in town?  And “so many times.”


But it’s totally different when the support is for Allison’s soon-to-be, because who are we kidding, daughter.

Tonight, though, she sensed her friends’ compassion as they reached out to Joy, just as she and Brock had.  She wished Joy could grow up in Destiny and have the opportunity to be enveloped in such warmth.

Yep, it’s warmth when it’s extended to the baby you love.  It’s just—I don’t know what Allison thinks it is, an annual hypocritical assuaging of guilt?—when it’s for others “less fortunate.”

But the really important thing about this turn of events is that it gives Allison a chance to spruce herself up for Brock!

Not that I blame her.  I would probably do the same thing, in her shoes.

Within minutes of hanging up [with David, with whom she turned down a last-minute invitation to Christmas dinner] she stood before the mirror, applying eyeliner and mascara that she usually skipped…

Okay, I get skipping eyeliner on working days, because that’s a pain in the ass.  But Allison is a blonde.  For natural blondes and redheads, skipping mascara makes you disappear.

Trust me, I know.

redhead hair

Brock, of course, is at the police station, still investigating.  Does the poor fellow ever get to sleep?

He sees Allison come in, all fancified, and has thoughts that are refreshingly complicated.

He couldn’t take his eyes off her, but he couldn’t decide if it was because he preferred this glamorous version of her or if he couldn’t get over how she’d messed up a good thing.

And just like when the foster mother called to take Joy, spoiling the moment, this moment is spoiled when Brock finally gets a call—a lead in the case!  The workers in some shitty hotel outside town found a baby car seat in a room.

Brock gets ready to go out and take a look, and Allison wants to keep hanging out with him, so…

The idea that struck her was like a gift from God—so simple, yet ingenious.

Uh-oh.  I remember the last time one of our RTC characters hatched a scheme “so clear and complete that he believed it was from God Himself.”

I really hope Allison’s God doesn’t dessicate Destiny as a way to flush out (har!) Joy’s mother.

But no, the idea is just to convince Brock that they should “team up” to find the mother.

And by “team up,” I figure Allison just means she tags along for the ride.

Beats drying up a city’s water supply, at least.


Posted on December 16, 2014, in Books, Child in a Manger, Christmas. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I could agree with Allison’s frustration about Christmas-only generosity. Except that, the way it’s phrased, her “resentment” is directed at the Christmas-solidarity, and not at the apathy throughout the rest of the year.

    “Those efforts assumed that people weren’t hungry, lonely or suffering any other time of the year”? No, they don’t. Those efforts don’t assume anything. They’re just a reflection of people’s limited attention span, the cultural peer-pressure to be more generous than usual around Christmas, the lack of resources of people to be that generous throughout the year, and an acknowledgement of the fact that many of those less fortunate will also have special feelings towards Christmas.

    As Ruby noted, this could’ve been salvaged if this book had picked up the story earlier (or included more flashbacks), showing us that Allison is someone who tirelessly worked all year helping the less fortunate but never got any support from the townspeople. Then her anger at a sudden outpouring of generosity at the moment it suited the those people would’ve made some sense.

    As it is? It sounds like the writer wanted an RTC dog whistle every other chapter. Before we got two reminders of how badly RTCs get persecuted (even in small rural towns, apparently), now we get the reminder to good conservatives that, because charity isn’t perfect, you should just not bother. Or maybe it’s a reminder that giving some material help on Christmas is a poor, temporary fix when telling people about the Jesus-secret will make their hunger, misery and loneliness go away forever.

    Or maybe the intention was good and the phrasing was just very bad.

  2. This is starting to feel as though the writer wrote a fairly straight foundling/romance story, then Christian-ed it up a bit. But Dana Corbit’s web site makes it look as though she only does Inspirational Romance.

    On the other hand she publishes through Steeple Hill (i.e. Harlequin) in the USA, Love Inspired (Mills & Boon) in the UK – the inspirational romance lines of real publishers, not Christian™-brand publishers who only take “proper” books.

    • Yeah, it’s not like Jenkins’ fair, where the religion-stuff is tightly interwoven with the plot to an absurd degree. You could take out the every-other-chapter RTC dogwhistle and the story wouldn’t really change at all. Even when the two lovebirds were debating over whether the mother was bad or not for leaving her kid in the manger, the Christian stuff was only tangentally involved.

      On the plus side, I still don’t want to see the town wiped of the map like, so it’s got that on the previous Christmas stories. We don’t really get to see much of anything of the town really, just Allison privately sneering about it.

  1. Pingback: Deconstruction Roundup for December 19, 2014 | The Slacktiverse

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