Many families have a special collection of Christmas stories they enjoy reading, year after year. Often this is a cherished tradition. And the only thing more fun than actually DOING a cherished tradition is adding to it – in this case, by finding new stories! If you are looking for new stories to add to your Christmas collection – stories that are unique, meaningful, and suitable for all ages – then I am happy to share with you a new volume that I have just discovered this Christmas season… “Twenty-one Candles: Stories for Christmas” was written by Canadian author Mike Mason, chapter-by-chapter over the course of many years, and collected into a single volume in 2014. As stated on the back cover, this book peers into the deeper meaning of the holidays and is filled with: “Silly sages and the wisdom of the simple. Stones and rockets and hand-written notes. Presents that unfold endlessly, and presents already open, if only we would notice.”
This book consists of twenty-one stand-alone narratives. The only thing they have in common with each other is that each one is extraordinarily unique, and will make you think and ponder in a deeper, unexpected way as a result. Some of the stories, such as “The Three Fools” and “Yabbakadoodles” will make you smile and chuckle at their silliness and unusual perspective. Others, such as “Born With Wings” and “Bound for Glory”, will touch you with their heartbreaking circumstances, and perhaps even bring tears to your eyes as the layers of storytelling unfold. Without question, you will discover your own personal favorites hidden within the pages of this collection.
Unfortunately but not unexpectedly, “Twenty-one Candles” is not perfect. What book is, after all? Occasional references or conversations include inappropriate content, but this aspect is quite minor. Naturally, all of the stories will not resonate or even be enjoyed by every reader, and indeed some are a little on the strange side. In addition, many of the stories have conclusions that may not provide complete closure for readers who are accustomed to everything being tied up neatly in a bow, but I think this is a specific technique implemented by the author. In any case, your imagination will get a workout in imagining how things turn out for each character! Overall, reading “Twenty-one Candles” was an enjoyable experience. Not every tale struck a chord with me, but many of them were beautiful, and several I plan to enjoy again next Christmas. I know that if you give Mike Mason’s collection a try, many of his stories are bound to become a tradition in your family, too.
I received a free copy of this book for review purposes, courtesy of Mike Mason and Word Slinger Publicity. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.