I’m going to start this review with an observation: very few novels about Christmas hold any surprises. That doesn’t make them bad. Sometimes I like predictable.
The Ghost of Christmas Present: A Novel, by Scott Abbott and Amy Maude Swinton, has no surprises. Patrick lost his wife a year ago, and Braden suffers from the same heart anomaly that took his mother. He needs heart surgery. Enter Ted, aka Grandpa, who blames Patrick for his daughter’s death, and decides to get Child Protective Services to investigate. In the meantime, Patrick loses his job and needs enough money to keep the heat on. When he realizes that a day job won’t do it, he uses his acting skills to panhandle as the Ghost of Christmas Present, bringing cheer and Shakespeare to the 9 to fivers.
Again, this was a nice book. The characters aren’t particularly well-developed, but the story moves at a good pace, and it’s a feel good book. If you’re looking for something to spend a relaxing afternoon with, this book isn’t bad. If you want a book to make you think, pass on this one.
Periodically, people question Shakespeare’s authenticity. There are claims that Shakespeare didn’t really exist, and that all the works credited to him are actually the work of numerous authors. Other claims state that Shakespeare did exist, but was the front man for other authors, or that he only authored a small number of the plays credited to him.
Anonymous is in theaters now, and is a movie dedicated to exploring this very premise. It’s getting mixed reviews. Some people feel it’s explored the various theories well, and others believe it fell short.
Shakespeare died almost 400 years ago, but questions about him still abound. I don’t know if they’re ever going to be answered at this point. If scholars haven’t found the answers in 400 years, I find it hard to believe that this question will ever be fully answered. What is it about Shakespeare that continues to make this question interesting?
I suppose part of it is that Shakespeare was such a prolific author, with general appeal. Shakespeare’s works have been staples of high school and college literature classes, and the inspiration for a number of books and movies. Many ask how one man could have written so many different things with such general appeal.
Is it so hard to believe that he was just that talented? I don’t discount that he had help. In my experience, most authors bounce ideas off others or take stories from things they’ve heard or seen.
In any case, the movie Anonymous should be interesting. But I’ll wait until it comes out on DVD.