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"The Perfect Christmas" Is A Disappointing Read From Debbie Macomber

The Perfect Christmas Plot Summary

The tick of Cassie Beaumont's biological clock is growing louder.  She's 33-years-old, smart, and beautiful, but no man ever meets her high standards.  Her best friend, Angie, pushes her to enlist the aid of a matchmaker who has a high success rate in bringing the most suitable couples together.  In fact, psychologist Simon Dodson guarantees his work.  He should--his matchmaking services carry a hefty price tag.

Simon is gruff, distant, and rude, but he doesn't intimidate Cassie.  Before he introduces her to her ideal match, Cassie must complete three Christmas tasks:  be a bell-ringer for charity, act as an elf for Santa at the mall, and cook a big Christmas dinner for her neighbors (whom she doesn't even like).    

Cassie presses through all these challenges and finally has the perfect Christmas with her most suitable mate.

What's Great About The Perfect Christmas

Debbie Macomber is in touch with the real lives of readers.  Many ladies who have waited to marry until their 30's can relate to the tension between not settling yet needing a mate before the chance at motherhood passes by.  When you're single and don't want to be, it's hard to see others living the happy life you envision for yourself.

A wonderful aspect of this story is the importance of looking past how people act and showing them kindness anyway.  Showering grinches with love and kindness is transformative.  Like many of us, Cassie's knee-jerk reaction is to respond to rude people with a cutting crack, but when she chooses to be nice instead, she reminds us all that you can win more people over with honey than vinegar.  Relationship-building is a nice thread in the novel.

Simon Dodson is a character who can offer advice he can't follow himself.  We find this in life all the time!  Doctors who lecture us about maintaining a healthy diet and weight are often portly.  Nurses who stress the importance of cleanliness to fight germs live in filthy houses.  How many times have we given friends relationship advice we haven't followed?  It's funny how we can help others in ways we can't help ourselves.  

As always, a happy, non-stressful ending awaits, leaving readers satisfied with the outcome.  Macomber ends with a series of e-mails among all the characters, and it's a unique and creative touch.  This book is actually listed as an "anthology" because Macomber includes some recipes from one of her cookbooks along with another shorter novel, Can This Be Christmas?  Bonus! 

Major Flaws With The Perfect Christmas

Debbie Macomber isn't consistent with her writing.  Sometimes she hits one out of the park, and other times, she strikes out.

The Perfect Christmas is not her best work.  As you're reading, it feels like Macomber is in a hurry to meet a deadline and rushes through parts that could have used further development.

This book was originally released in 2009, then re-released in 2016, and it is strikingly familiar to another tale Macomber wrote in 2016:  The Twelve Days of Christmas.  In both novels, the leading ladies serve as bell ringers and bring chicken noodle soup to ailing men, and their personalities are very similar.  Likewise, the men in both novels are rude, snippy, and unapproachable.  The difference is in The Twelve Days of Christmas, the reader learns what makes the male character tick, which explains why he acts the way he does.  The reader feels empathetic and forgiving.  Macomber skims over such details in The Perfect Christmas, making you wonder why any woman would tolerate the cold treatment Cassie embraces.  It's the author's job to X-ray a character's psyche for the reader so we can be understanding and not write him off as an abusive jerk.  

Although Cassie shares kisses with a male character multiple times, the implications are ignored.  In real life, one of the two would be pressing the other for answers.  

While The Perfect Christmas offers many enjoyable moments, the reader is forced to a conclusion that isn't a natural progression because we aren't given enough development to make it believable.

Why Am I Reviewing A Book From 2009?

Aren't book reviews supposed to be geared towards new releases?  Yes, but I march to the beat of my own drum and enjoy going rogue.

The Christmas season is upon us.  Like me, you may be searching for cozy Christmas novels to read, and if Debbie Macomber is a favorite of yours too, you may be trying to decide which of her many Christmas novels are worth your time.   

Though you might enjoy The Perfect Christmas, I highly recommend The Twelve Days of Christmas instead.

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