The Christmas Shoes by Donna Van Liere

Synopsis: Robert Layton is a wealthy attorney who seems to have everything and yet nothing at all. Somewhere along the way, Robert has lost sight of what is truly important in life and has become a workaholic who never spends time with his family. His long-suffering wife has decided that she’s had enough, and is planning to file for a divorce after the holidays. Robert isn’t quite sure that he is ready for his marriage to end, but neither does he seem to understand what he needs to do to save it.

Across town, the Andrews family live very simply on mechanic, Jack’s modest salary, but they have a whole lot of love in their household. Everything changes for them though, when Jack’s wife, Maggie is diagnosed with cancer and only given a short time to live. As the holidays approach, Maggie’s condition begins to deteriorate rapidly, leaving little question that this will be her last Christmas with her beloved husband and her children, Nathan and Rachel. When everyone in Nathan’s class at school share their fondest holiday memories, Nathan is particularly moved by his teacher’s story of a special pair of shoes she received as a little girl.

On Christmas Eve, Robert half-heartedly goes shopping for his family, and chances to meet a little boy who is desperately trying to purchase a fancy pair of shoes for his mom, so she will look pretty when she meets Jesus. The boy doesn’t have enough money, and when he turns pleading eyes on Robert, it awakens something within him that makes him realize everything he’s been missing and changes his life in a profound and lasting way.

 

Ok, bad things first. I don’t like the narration, as it skips around through the past and present and future, it gets a bit confusing. I don’t like how it is not told in the sequence of events as they happened.

Now for the good. I love the message and the way that the only underdeveloped characters are the ones in the back ground such as the secretary and the mother’s neighbors. I love how the focus is kept on the main characters and their struggles, and how in the end, everything ties together and the lessons are learned. I love the way that the characters interact.

 

All in all, I recommend this to people who want a story that is beautiful but does not exactly go in sequential order.

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