This is one of those books that you know the outcome even before you turn the first page. But you also know the plot of “It’s A Wonderful Life.” Does that stop you from watching it? No, and it shouldn’t. At Christmas you have a built-in excuse to watch and read heart-warming, obvious stories that make you cry and feel good all at once.
The Christmas Clock is the story of Teddy Winters, who lost his single mom at age four, and now, age eight, lives with his grandma Lottie. But Lottie has been stricken with early-onset Alzheimer’s, and it is only a matter of time until darkness will totally descend on her mind. When that happens, Teddy will be taken from Lottie and handed over to Social Services. Teddy doesn’t know this, however, and takes on a number of little jobs so he can buy his grandma the small hand-painted clock she has wanted for so long.
One of Teddy’s jobs is working for Joe Dixon, who at 29, is getting his life on track after having served in prison three years for involuntary manslaughter. He had gotten in a fight in a bar, punched a guy, and the man hit his head on the way down and died. Joe was in the bar drinking because the love of his life, Sybil, had broken up with him and left town right before their marriage. What Joe didn’t know was that Sybil broke it off because she was diagnosed with cervical cancer, and she knew how much Joe wanted a family.
Sybil, cancer free for six years, moves back to Dreyerville, Michigan, and sees Joe again. She and Joe realize they never stopped loving one another. (Sybil is still beautiful, and Joe has more rippling muscles than ever, but what: you were expecting another Jimmy Stewart?)
Evaluation: You can guess the outcome of this story. But does that mean you shouldn’t read it? Does that mean you still won’t enjoy it? The answer to both questions is “No way!” This is a story you’ll love reading every year, along with the rest of the Christmas genre.
Published by Vanguard Press, 2009